Dimitre Dimitrov, a 64-year-old North Carolina man, shot his wife MaryAnn Dimitrov dead before turning the gun on himself last week at a Wilmington tennis club, police believe

Investigators said the apparent murder-suicide came amid a nasty divorce and a prolonged custody battle for the estranged couple’s 12-year-old son, according to local reports

Children were reportedly nearby at the time of the shooting, but none were injured. It is unclear if the couple’s child was among the bystanders. 

Describing the shooting as a “domestic,” “isolated incident,” police said there was no threat to the public and that an investigation is ongoing. 

Police said Dimitre Dimitrov killed MaryAnn Dimitrov before turning the gun on himself in Wilmington, North Carolina last week
Police said Dimitre Dimitrov killed MaryAnn Dimitrov before turning the gun on himself in Wilmington, North Carolina last week. Photo credit: Facebook

Dimitre Dimitrov Accused of Killing His Wife

According to court documents obtained by various media outlets, investigators believe Dimitre and MaryAnn Dimitrov were at the Holly Tree Racquet Club in Wilmington, N.C. last Tuesday when the 64-year-old killed his wife and then himself. 

Responding police reportedly administered CPR to MaryAnn, though she could not be resuscitated and was declared dead at the scene. Dimitre was escorted to New Hanover Regional Medical Center where he succumbed to an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, court filings claim. 

Reports indicate several children were nearby when the shooting occurred, but it’s not clear if they witnessed the event, and police have not said if the Dimitrovs’ 12-year-old son was there. 

“This is an isolated incident and WPD is currently investigating. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim and her family,” Wilmington police said in a press release Wednesday night.. “If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic abuse please seek help.”

In a statement issued to reporters, the tennis club confirmed the incident, writing: ““The tragic event that occurred […] at Holly Tree racquet club was the result of a domestic violence dispute between a husband and his wife. The husband shot his wife and then turned the gun on himself.” 

“The victims were not members of our tennis facility. Our thoughts and prayers are with the surviving family,” they added. 

Murder-Suicide Followed Divorce, Custody Battle

Court documents show that the Dimitrovs separated in September and were in the middle of divorce proceedings when they died last week. 

The pair were also vying for custody of their 12-year-old son, though it’s not clear whose custody he was in last. Courts reportedly approved an “extension” filed by Dimitre just hours before the 64-year-old allegedly killed his wife and himself. More information on that motion was not immediately available Monday. 

MaryAnn Dimitrov and Dimitre Dimitrov each claimed they were victims of abuse before they died last week.
MaryAnn Dimitrov and Dimitre Dimitrov each claimed they were victims of abuse before they died in an apparent murder-suicide last week. Domestic violence rates have been on the rise in Wilmington in 2021. Photo credit: Facebook

Court Filings Allege Domestic Violence

Both Dimitre and MaryAnn told the court during divorce proceedings that they were victims of physical and verbal abuse, as well. Police called the killings “domestic” in nature and claimed that such tragedies are more common during the holiday season.

Karmen Smith, executive director at local domestic violence shelter Hope Harbor Home, believes the alleged abuse foreshadowed the shooting. 

MaryAnn Dimitrov and husband Dimitre Dimitrov were found dead at a Wilmington tennis club in an apparent murder suicide.
MaryAnn Dimitrov and husband Dimitre Dimitrov were found dead at a Wilmington tennis club in an apparent murder-suicide. Photo credit; Facebook

“He didn’t just wake up one day and decide, well today’s the day,” Smith told WWAY-TV on Thursday. “In that mindset of an abuser, they very well might decide I want this person, and if I can’t have them, I’m going to kill myself and take them down with me.”

She continued: “Listen to them when they say, they said they were going to kill me, [when] they said they are suicidal.”

Still, the signs aren’t always there, Smith noted. “Sometimes we will have victims of homicides and murder-suicides where there’s been no history at all.”