A newly-hired Villanova University assistant vice president was gunned down Tuesday night after an affair led to a murder-suicide that shocked a quiet Delaware County, Pennsylvania, neighborhood, police said.
Meredith Sullivan Chapman, 33, had just moved into a three-story brick home on Lowrys Lane in Radnor Township with her dog Indy, friends told NBC10.
On Monday night, the wife of her paramour broke into Chapman's home, waited until she returned and killed her.
The shooter, identified as Jennair Gerardot, turned the gun on herself. Gerardot's body was found near the kitchen, not far from Chapman, police said.
"She broke into the house, she was lying in wait and she shot her as soon as she walked in and then she shot herself," Radnor Township Police Superintendent William Colarulo said. "There were emails and text messages indicating what [Gerardot] planned to do."
When investigators arrived at the scene, Gerardot’s husband, Mark Gerardot, told officials that his wife might be inside.
Investigators found the shooter’s gun, a wig and women’s clothing that did not belong to Chapman at the scene. Investigators believe the shooter might have disguised herself before breaking into the house.
Police say the murder-suicide was the result of an affair between Mark Gerardot and Chapman. Gerardot had gone to a restaurant where he thought he'd be meeting Chapman for dinner. When she didn't show up, he went to her house and found the bodies. He then called police.
"You had a man that was married, that was having an affair with this other woman," Colarulo said. "The wife knew about it and this was a calculated, planned attack."
Neighbor Tom Dougherty was stunned by the news, telling NBC10 that "this is not what usually happens on this street.”
"Nothing ever happens on this street,” he said.
Chapman was a former WHYY producer for its Delaware bureau and ran an unsuccessful bid as a Republican for a state senate seat in Delaware. She was also married to Newark City Councilman Luke Chapman.
“Our hearts are broken by the devastating loss of our new colleague,” Villanova University officials said in a statement. “The thoughts and prayers of the entire university community are with her family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time.”
Chapman's family called her a "beacon of light to anyone who was fortunate enough to meet her," in a released statement.
"She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field," they wrote. "Her death was sudden and tragic, but will not definite who she was to the thousands of people who loved her."
SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.