It just doesn't make sense.
Melissa and Todd Koolmo were high school sweethearts and had just celebrated their 13th wedding anniversary.He was a former reserve police officer who worked as a security guard at a local ski resort. She was a stewardess for Skywest Airlines, known for her friendly, out-going manner.
They lived in a quiet, middle-class neighborhood that consistently has one of Salt Lake City's lowest crime rates. The police had never been called to their house in the two years they'd lived there.
Wednesday, March 18, started out as a normal, maybe even a good, day by most standards for the couple, originally from Minnesota.
"The first half of the day . . . they went shopping for blinds, stopped and bought a jacuzzi," said Salt Lake homicide detective Mark Scharman.
But by day's end Melissa Koolmo was dead; she'd been shot in the face. Her husband was in jail, accused of killing her.
Todd Dean Koolmo, 30, was charged with murder, a first-degree felony in 3rd District Court Friday. He is being held at the Salt Lake County Jail in lieu of $150,000 bail
"One minute they're awaiting the arrival of a jacuzzi they'd both wanted for some time, and two hours later, one of them is dead," Scharman said.
But domestic violence is often that way - mystifying. The Koolmo case is not unusual, he said.
"With domestic violence, what sets it off is anybody's guess," Scharman said.
The fact that it doesn't make sense is proof that the myths still prevail when it comes to the perceptions of domestic violence, experts say.
"It can happen anywhere, anytime, to anybody," said Kristine Knowlton, an assistant Utah attorney general who has prosecuted domestic violence cases for eight years.
"People just need to get beyond (the notion) that this only happens to other people," she said. "We are those other people."
Once society accepts the fact that no person, no neighborhood is immune to domestic violence, "then maybe we can do something about it," Knowlton said.
Melissa Koolmo, 29, was shot once in the face and once in the shoulder with a .45-caliber handgun about 8:30 p.m. Wednesday as she sat on the couch in her home, 2868 S. Dearborn St. (1460 East). She was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead about 9:10 p.m.
The shooting followed a heated argument in which the couple reportedly discussed divorcing. Both were drinking, Scharman said, but they weren't drunk.
The couple didn't have a history with police, but the problems that led to Wednesday's argument have plagued them for years.
"It had been festering for some time," Scharman said.
Todd Dean Koolmo, 30, was arrested nearly an hour after police arrived to help his wife. After the shooting, Todd Koolmo reportedly ran downstairs to his neighbor's apartment for help, a police report said.
"Todd came running down the stairs; he was pulling at his hair and screaming," the report quoted the neighbor as telling police. "Todd got down and cradled Melissa and was telling her to, `Hang on. I'm so sorry. Hang on,' " the report said.
While the neighbor talked with emergency workers on the telephone, Todd Koolmo ran from the house. He called police shortly before 10 p.m. from a pay phone in front of the Brickyard Plaza, 3300 S. 1300 East.
Police officers went to the plaza and arrested Koolmo, who was booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of criminal homicide a few hours later. Jail officials said Koolmo is in the facility's mental health section.
The couple hid effectively from friends and even family members the fact that they were having marital troubles. A source close to the family, who didn't want to be identified, said Melissa's family first heard of a possible divorce on the night she was killed.
"(Her mother) called Melissa (Wednesday night) because she hadn't heard from her for a couple of weeks," he said. "They were arguing (when she called)."
The next call Melissa Koolmo's mother received was from police who reported her daughter had been shot to death and her son-in-law arrested.
The man who spoke for the family said they are devastated.
"She was a happy-go-lucky, very caring person," he said. "She was always smiling . . . A beautiful girl, both inside and out."
He said the family saw Todd Koolmo as Melissa's opposite - introverted.
"It was hard to get close to him," he said. "We are a close-knit family. He didn't seem to fit in or want to fit in. He wanted her, but nobody else. I don't know him all that well."
"It's a very sad thing," he said. "It's sad for their side (Todd's family). I feel sorry for everybody involved, including Todd."