MOUND HOUSE - A Mound House couple told their 12-year-old daughter to hide in her room moments before they were shot to death and their 7-year-old son wounded Tuesday morning, police said.
Richard Schmerber, 42, an armored-car driver, and his wife, Tamara, 41, apparently had some warning that trouble was coming, because Tamara Schmerber told the daughter to go to her room before someone came into the house, according to the Lyon County Sheriff's Office.
She was unhurt, but did not see the shooter, police said. Her brother, who is autistic, survived being shot twice by the unknown assailant. A third child already had gone to school.
The Schmerbers were found shot in the head in the kitchen of their Pyrite Drive home in Mound House, just east of Carson City, after the 12-year-old girl called police about 8:54 a.m., said Lyon County Sheriff's Lt. John Arndell.
The boy was found in the dining room with gunshot wounds to his back and thigh, said Sgt. Jim Cupp. The boy was listed in serious-but-stable condition at Washoe Medical Center in Reno, where he is under police protection.
"Poor baby," said Elsie Ruybal, who was visiting her mother, Erlina Mason, who lives near the family. "I hope to God he makes it."
Mason, 67, said she spoke frequently to Richard Schmerber. The family lived in the home about three years, moving from Carson City. She said Schmerber told her he'd recently won a $35,000 settlement in a lawsuit against a bank.
"He was a nice man. He always talked to me when I'd be out on my walks," she said.
Mason said the couple's 15-year-old daughter would catch a bus to school in front of the home around 7 a.m. Tamara Schmerber would drive the girl to the bus stop about the same time, and a bus would pick up the boy at the end of his driveway at about 7:15.
The eldest daughter made it to school Tuesday, Arndell said.
The bus driver who arrived to pick up the 7-year-old boy told police she "waited and waited" in front of the house and finally left when the "child didn't come outside," Arndell said.
The bus driver didn't notice anything unusual, he said.
Forensic technicians from Washoe County spent the day trying to piece together the events from the evidence. They examined at least two bullet holes that could be seen in an east window and to the rear of the home and appeared to be taking tire track impressions from the driveway.
"The evidence we've found is leading us in a direction," Arndell said, declining to elaborate.
He said investigators also will interview employees of Loomis Fargo & Co. armored trucks, for which Schmerber had been a driver for the past three years. According to police, Schmerber called work Monday night to say he wouldn't be in Tuesday. He was expected to call in Tuesday morning, but never did, Arndell said.
Kevin Orton, branch manager, said he knew of no problems with Schmerber and was shocked by the shootings. He described Schmerber as "a good, reliable employee who did his job the way he was asked to do it."
Both daughters are being cared for by their grandparents, Arndell said.
Contact F.T. Norton at 881-1213 or email@example.com