Glen Burnie murder-suicide

Lt. T.J. Smith, Anne Arundel County Police spokesman, talks to the media outside the scene of a triple fatal shooting in the 1100 block of Armistead Street. Two men and one woman were found shot to death. Anne Arundel police say one of those killed, Christopher Lee Robinson, 37, of the 100 block of Glenview Terrace in Abingdon is the suspect in the incident. (Luke Broadwater, Baltimore Sun / October 26, 2013)

Christopher Robinson was struggling to accept the end of his relationship with Marie Hartman, continuing to send her text messages and flowers even as his relatives told him he needed to move on.

Early Sunday morning, Robinson, a Baltimore police officer, went to the Glen Burnie home of Hartman's new boyfriend, Baltimore firefighter Andrew Hoffman, and fatally shot both of them before turning the gun on himself, according to Anne Arundel County police. Hartman's sister hid in a closet while she listened to the gunshots, her family members said.

The killings sent three families and two city agencies into mourning, left a 6-year-old boy without a mother and shocked the suburban neighborhood where Hoffman lived.

"That was my best friend," said an emotional Fred Scheper, 29, of Pasadena, who came to the neighborhood after he heard of the shooting. "He saved people's lives every day."

Wayne Robinson said it was clear that his brother was having a hard time getting over the August breakup, but that no one had any indication he would become violent.

"I don't know what happened last night, but the person that pulled that trigger wasn't the Chris that I know," said Wayne Robinson, also a Baltimore firefighter and a friend of Hoffman's.

"They told me this morning and I didn't believe it," he said. "I just couldn't wrap my head around the fact that it happened. I lost a brother and I lost a friend. It's just crazy."

Anne Arundel County police said Robinson, 37, of Abingdon, entered Hoffman's home at about 1:35 a.m. and shot the city firefighter and Hartman before taking his own life.

Lt. T.J. Smith, a spokesman for the Anne Arundel police, said investigators were "able to quickly determine this was a domestic-related murder-suicide."

"This is an absolute tragedy," he said.

Hoffman, 27, who grew up in the area and attended Glen Burnie High School, had recently begun dating Hartman, 26, and "was the happiest I've even seen him in his life in the past two months with the new girlfriend," Scheper said.

Ed Chaney, Hartman's stepfather, said she had dated Robinson "off and on" for more than a year. But after breaking up over the summer, Robinson became insistent that they get back together, Chaney said.

"About a month ago, she started saying that Chris was sending her text messages," Chaney said. "He wanted her back. He was saying, 'I love you. You and I need to be together.' Him being both in the Marine Corps and a city police officer, you don't think anything of it."

Wayne Robinson said his brother was trying to move on from the relationship, and learned a few weeks ago that Hartman had begun dating Hoffman. He also said that his brother continued to text her and send her flowers.

"He was having problems with this girl," Wayne Robinson recalled. "He asked me two weeks ago for advice. I told him to leave her be, because she didn't want anything to do with him anymore."

Still, he said, his brother was not confrontational and avoided "drama."

"I understand that he's the bad guy in this situation, but he wasn't a bad guy," Wayne Robinson said. "It's just unfortunate and very senseless."

Police have not released details of the incident, but Chaney said that on Saturday evening, Hoffman, Hartman and Hartman's 18-year-old sister, Brittany, attended a Halloween party, after which they picked up fast food and returned to Hoffman's house for a bonfire.

Chaney said the family believes Robinson followed them, and went to Hoffman's door in the 1100 block of Armistead Road. Chaney said Brittany told him Hoffman confronted Robinson, who "opened fire on Andy," Chaney said.

He said Brittany told him she hid in a closet and heard screaming and gunshots, then fled out a window. The two men, and her sister, were found dead by police.