Police say the shooting occurred at this home at approximately 1 a.m. Sunday.
Josephine Austria, 51, was pronounced dead at a local hospital early Sunday morning.
CLEARWATER, FL (WFLA) -
From their Facebook pages, Alexander Richardson, 24, and Josephine Nicole Austria, 51, appeared to be madly in love.
But something went wrong early Sunday morning, leaving Austria dead and Richardson charged with her murder.
“Unbelievable. Easter Sunday, absolutely unbelievable," said Cathy Rice, who lives two doors away from the home Richardson and Austria shared on Hillcreek Circle East. "A quiet neighborhood, the worse that ever happens around here is the speeders.”
Richardson was booked Sunday in the Pinellas County Jail on a charge of second degree murder.
He also is facing charges of operating a firearm under the influence of alcohol or chemical substances.
Police officers were called to the couple’s home at 2368 Hillcreek Circle E. shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday. They found Austria unresponsive and bleeding from her head.
According to a Clearwater police report, Richardson ran to a Circle K convenience store on McMullen Booth Road, almost a mile away from the house, to report the incident. He asked a convenience store clerk to call 911 because he shot his girlfriend, the police report states.
The couple was hosting a birthday party for a friend when the shooting occurred. Several people were at the house when police officers arrived.
Austria was transported to a local hospital, where she later died.
Investigators spent much of Sunday at the house interviewing possible witnesses.
A search warrant for the residence was issued just before 10 a.m. An autopsy will be conducted to determine the official cause of death.
“We had to get a search warrant to enter the house after the victim was removed and everything," Clearwater police spokesman Rob Shaw said. "That was our initial response, trying to get the victim to a hospital to help her, but then it took us several hours to get a judge to sign a search warrant so we could go inside and begin our investigation.”
According to Richardson’s Facebook page, the couple began dating on Valentine’s Day 2013. Richardson was set to deploy within the next month. Austria worked as a registered nurse.
“I would just see her as she would go by, and I would just wave to her," Rice said. "She seemed nice, quiet and she had friends, she had parties and that’s normal. People do that.”