UT student kills girlfriend, himself

6/4/2006
BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Michelle Mielecki, 21, was shot seven times by Andrew Brown, also 21.
Michelle Mielecki, 21, was shot seven times by Andrew Brown, also 21.

A University of Toledo criminal justice student fatally shot his girlfriend, a UT marketing student, and then killed himself early yesterday in his South Toledo apartment complex, where residents said they heard the victim's terrified screams and gunshots.

Andrew M. Brown and Michelle Danielle Mielecki, who were 21 and 2003 graduates of Wapakoneta High School, were pronounced dead by authorities who arrived shortly after 2 a.m. at Arlington South Apartments, Toledo Police Sgt. Tim Noble said.

Ms. Mielecki died almost instantly from seven gunshot wounds to her torso that hit her liver and spleen, said Cynthia Beisser, deputy Lucas County coroner.

Brown died instantly of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his head, Dr. Beisser said.

Ms. Mielecki's family and others who knew the couple said they could not understand what happened and consistently referred to Brown in glowing terms.

"You just have two good kids from good families, and for whatever reason something just snapped in the head, and now we no longer have our children," said Ms. Mielecki's father, Tom.

Ms. Mielecki was shot in an inside hallway on the top floor of the three-story apartment building where Brown lived on Arlington Avenue near Medical University of Ohio.

Her body was found at the top of the stairs.

Michelle Mielecki's body was found in the third-floor hallway of Arlington South Apartments.
Michelle Mielecki's body was found in the third-floor hallway of Arlington South Apartments.

Yesterday afternoon, bullet holes in a wall and a blood-stained carpet told of the murder-suicide that neighbors heard in progress. "First, I heard a female screaming along with some banging noises," said Ashley Brewer, who lives on the second floor at the opposite end of the building.

"I heard her yelling, 'Andrew! No!' She probably said it three times. She was screaming like she was terrified."

Ms. Brewer counted at least eight shots, she said, and when she called 911 a dispatcher had already heard from other neighbors and law enforcement was on the way.

Brown's body was found inside his neat, two-bedroom unit, apartment 58, where police recovered the handgun they believe was used.

Sergeant Noble said he did not know yesterday if the gun belonged to Brown.

"All I know is two good kids, and we don't know what happened," Brown's father, Dan, said.

Brown and Ms. Mielecki, who had dated for about three years, were with the Brown family last Sunday for a picnic in the Wapakoneta area, south of Lima in Auglaize County, his father said.

And although Brown was mourning the loss of his grandfather, Richard Brown, who died in a house fire about two months ago, neither the Brown nor Mielecki families said they were aware of anything that might help explain what happened yesterday. "If there was something there that would cause this to happen, I didn't see it and my wife didn't see it," Mr. Mielecki said.

On Ms. Mielecki's profile on myspace.com, a Web site for young people to interact and describe themselves, she wrote that Brown was her first and current love.

In response to the question "What do you want in a relationship right now," she wrote, "I'm good."

Brown was not her only tie to his family. Ms. Mielecki lived with his sister, Lindsey, in West Toledo, family members said.

In addition to taking classes at UT, Ms. Mielecki was employed at the Bed, Bath & Beyond store on Holland-Sylvania Road.

Ms. Mielecki, who played basketball, softball, and soccer and ran cross-country in high school, adored the Cleveland Indians and hoped to get a job in marketing for the team.

"When she was a little kid she wanted to play for them," her father said.

The Indians' Grady Sizemore was a favorite player, and Ms. Mielecki was in a group of young women who called themselves Grady's Ladies Sisterhood and wore matching T-shirts to games.

Ms. Mielecki was to graduate from UT in the winter, her father said.

Brown told his longtime employer, Haehn Florist in Wapakoneta, Ohio, that he would be working part-time this summer in store security, a job related to his major.

Since he was about 16 years of age, he had helped with landscaping, deliveries, and other work at Haehn's during the summers and on holidays, following his older sisters into employment there, owner Mick Haehn said.

Brown appeared to Mr. Haehn to be a "perfect kid" who was reliable on the job, got good grades in school, belonged to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Wapakoneta, and loved basketball.

Brown played basketball on his high school team, for a Catholic Youth Organization team, and at the YMCA, Mr. Haehn said.

Brown wanted to be an FBI agent, a decision influenced perhaps because his birthday was on Sept. 11, Ms. Mielecki's father said.

Brown was studying criminal justice and accounting.

"This kid was the best," Mr. Haehn said. "He's the last person in the world to think anything like this would transpire."

Surviving Ms. Mielecki are her parents, Tom and Becky; sisters, Trish Fox and Jenny Mielecki; grandparents, Charles and Evelyn Stonehill, and great-grandmother, Clara Stemen.

Visitation will be tomorrow and Tuesday in Bayliff & Son Funeral Home in Cridersville, Ohio, where her funeral will be Wednesday.

The family suggests tributes to Calvary United Methodist Church in Cridersville or Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland.

Surviving Brown are his parents, Dan and Dorothy; sisters, Stacey Jutte and Lindsey Brown, and maternal grandfather, Clarence Berres.

Bayliff & Eley Funeral Home in Wapakoneta is handling arrangements.

His funeral will be in St. Joseph Catholic Church, Wapakoneta, although a time had not yet been set last night.

Contact Jane Schmucker at: jschmucker@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.