2 Pasco teachers found dead in murder-suicide, police say

2 Pasco teachers found dead in murder-suicide, police say

Officials have identified a Kennewick couple found shot to death inside a Canyon Lakes home Wednesday afternoon.

Dustin Altshuler, 37, and his wife Laura Cole, 35, were found dead in a home at 2932 South Keller Place around 3 p.m., according to Kennewick Police.

Police believe that Altshuler shot Cole before turning the gun on himself in an apparent murder-suicide.

Both of them were teachers within the Pasco School District. Altshuler taught at Pasco High and Cole taught at Whittier Elementary. Grief counselors are available at the schools for students and staff.

Altshuler was arrested Saturday night for allegedly groping a taxi driver.

Court documents say a RAD Cab taxi picked him up in Kennewick and gave him a ride to The Office, a local bar. He offered the female driver $100 to come inside with him and keep him out of fighting or getting in trouble. She agreed.

Once inside the bar, the woman said Altshuler became very aggressive toward the other patrons and talked about starting a fight. Eventually, the woman told him she needed to continue working, and Altshuler convinced her to continue driving him. She told him she would take him home.

In the car, he said he didn’t want to go home and turned up the car’s stereo very loud, then grabbed the back of the driver’s neck. She pried away his fingers and told him to calm down, then texted “Help!” to her company dispatcher, court documents say.

After she sent the message, Altshuler allegedly grabbed the woman between the legs through her jeans. The driver forcibly removed his hand and pulled over at the Porter’s gas station off State Route 395 and 27th Avenue. The woman explained that she was working and was already in a relationship, but Altshuler continued trying to persuade her.

Police were called to the scene by her taxi company.

When they arrived, they found the taxi driver crying hysterically and hyperventilating before she told them her story. Altshuler was inside the gas station convenience store at the time. Police said he looked very intoxicated when they took him into custody.

The Pasco School District placed him on administrative leave Tuesday.

The bodies were found the day before Altshuler was supposed to be arraigned in Benton County Superior Court on one count of incident liberties by forcible compulsion — a felony sex crime.

Detectives are continuing to investigate this homicide.

We originally reported that the taxi driver called 911. This error has been corrected.

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