TRAVERSE CITY — A probe of a Traverse City woman’s shooting death hinges in part on whether police confirm her boyfriend’s claim that he was the intended target of the bullet that killed her.
Traverse City police on Tuesday evening found Monica June Anderson, 28, dead in her apartment at Three Mile Road and Aero Park Drive. Capt. Mike Ayling said a 33-year-old man — Anderson’s family identified him as Robert “Bobby Cal” Caldwell — told dispatchers it was an accidental shooting that occurred when he attempted to commit suicide.
Investigators are trying to pull together that night’s events and by late Wednesday afternoon hadn’t arrested the man, who also apparently shot himself in the hand and received treatment at Munson Medical Center.
“We haven’t even interviewed him. We’re hoping that’s going to happen today,” Ayling said Wednesday.
Authorities didn’t release the victim and suspect’s identities, but Sandy Anderson, of Peshawbestown in Leelanau County, confirmed her daughter was the victim and in a live-in relationship with Caldwell.
The victim’s family and friends struggled to understand her slaying. Anderson’s childhood friend, Monica L. Anderson, said the family began a three-day mourning vigil in a home near Suttons Bay.
“Everyone is in disbelief,” she said. “Why, why her? It doesn’t make sense.”
Officers were dispatched to the apartment at 10:24 p.m. and arrived to find the woman dead and the man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Ayling said he couldn’t comment on details.
Family and friends said the couple had a good relationship, but some neighbors spoke of witnessing public fights. Anderson’s daughter, 9, and son, 3, also lived in the apartment and are with her family. Caldwell is the boy’s father.
Apartment resident Taneya Lamson described Anderson as a “very sweet lady” whose children were playmates with her daughter. She said Anderson’s relationship with Caldwell often appeared volatile.
“I have heard them in the past arguing outside,” Lamson said, but noted she wasn’t aware of any recent arguments.
Robert Caldwell and Monica June Anderson signed a lease for the apartment about six months ago, said property manager Jon Stimson. The Record-Eagle confirmed the tenants’ ages with the Michigan Secretary of State.
Stimson said the couple were both “good people” who had some minor problems during their tenancy. He said the couple was almost evicted over the summer when they failed to pay rent. Police also investigated an incident in which someone kicked in their door.
“I suspected it was the tenant, but they were adamant it was not him,” Stimson said.
Lamson’s mother Bonnie Habrecht was babysitting her grandchildren when the shooting occurred and heard “pounding” noises she couldn’t place.
“Twenty minutes later I heard a commotion outside and heard someone hollering, ‘Put the gun down. Put the gun down,’” she said. “I believe that was the police because my daughter said the police were on the scene.”
Police had already taped off the building by the time Lamson arrived. Ayling wouldn’t comment on whether the man tried to escape or held a gun when officers arrived.
Detectives continued their initial investigation into Wednesday morning and could be seen removing bags of evidence from the apartment.
Record-Eagle writers MICHELLE MERLIN and NATHAN PAYNE contributed to this report.