Petaluma second-grade teacher Kim Baucom Conover knew her estranged husband, Kevin, owned a gun but may have been the only member of her family who failed to anticipate what he might do with it, a close family member said Monday.
Their troubled marriage of less than two years included episodes of physical violence, an Easter Day domestic abuse report and recent episodes of stalking in the wake of the couple's separation about two months ago, the family member said, on condition her name and relationship not be revealed.
Kim Conover, 43, was "absolutely" afraid of her husband and had tried to leave him several times before, the family member said.
On Sunday, she visited her divorce attorney to get a restraining order against her husband, police said.
But she apparently did not foresee the level of violence that exploded Sunday afternoon.
Kevin Conover, 41, was waiting for her outside her lawyer's office in downtown Petaluma. Police said he accosted her on the street, then shot her and killed himself.
"I think everybody but her thought he was capable of this," the family member said.
Her attorney, Jeff Zimmerman, was among several witnesses to the 2 p.m. shooting, police said. On Monday, Zimmerman said he was unable to say anything because of attorney-client privilege.
"My hands are tied," Zimmerman said.
Kim Conover, a graduate of Petaluma High School like her husband, was a well-loved teacher for more than 12 years at Meadow Elementary School in the Waugh School District.
The flag was flying at half-staff over the Petaluma school, where staff and students were grieving Monday with chaplains and counselors on hand to help, Superintendent Robert Cmelak said.
Students were invited to spend time "loving up" two service dogs brought in to provide comfort. Numerous kids created colorful pictures and letters that were taped to a window on the principal's office above a row of vases filled with flowers.
The Conovers had 21-month-old twins, a boy and a girl, and Kim Conover had two older daughters from a previous marriage, a 15-year-old and 12-year-old who attend Petaluma schools, police and school officials said.
Kevin Conover's mother, Jean Conover, declined comment Monday, but his sister, Bonnie, issued a written statement a short time later saying the family "was devastated by Sunday's events."
"Our hearts go out to the Baucom and Sullivan families for their senseless loss; especially to Kim's daughters," the statement read. "We appreciate and are eternally grateful for the love and support being shown in the community for all of us impacted by this tragedy."
Until their separation, Kim Conover lived in the same home Kevin Conover had shared with his late wife, who reportedly died of cancer, in a neat neighborhood off Rainier Circle in northeast Petaluma. She most recently was staying with her parents in Petaluma.
A friend said Kevin Conover retired on disability from PG&E about five years ago.
Neighbors on Searles Way said the couple was friendly but didn't interact much with others on the street.