Official cause of death released in Henderson shooting - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Official cause of death released in Henderson shooting

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Michelle Cotter. Source: Michelle Cotter. Source:

UPDATE:  A single gunshot to the torso is what the State Medical Examiner's Office in Louisville has determined as the official cause of death in the shooting death of Michelle Lewis Cotter. 

The incident has shocked and saddened several tri-state communities.

It started around 2:30 Tuesday morning. Henderson Police officers responded to a call of suspicious circumstances at 208 Cardinal Lane.

When they arrived on the scene just before 3 a.m., officers say they found 39-year-old Michelle Lewis Cotter with a gunshot wound. Officials say there was massive blood loss. 

Emergency officials began treating her on scene and she was taken by ambulance to Methodist Hospital. Medics worked on her for around 45 minutes but she was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 3:59 a.m.

Police say 36 year-old Steven Cotter was trying to kill himself when they arrived. Police say officers tased him to keep him from doing so. He was taken in to custody and is being treated at an Evansville hospital for injuries.

Steven Cotter is an assistant soccer coach at Henderson County High School.

Police say the neighborhood is usually quiet and they weren't expecting to find this situation.

"This is a very nice neighborhood. There is very little crime around here. I was approached by a lady who were friends and asked what was going on. So I think there are a lot of people who are in shock about what happened in this residence last night," said John Nevels with HPD.

"I don't think anyone ever expects a call like this. Like you said, it is a very quiet street. I'm sure all the neighbors know one another, so something like this would be very disturbing to them," said Jennifer Richmond with HPD.

Fred Davis lives right across the street, used to teach with Michelle, and had known her for over 20 years. He was still in shock when he spoke with us.

"Traumatic. She was an excellent teacher and it's just terrible. Terrible," said Davis.

Michelle Cotter, was an assistant dance team coach at Henderson County High School and a guidance counselor at College View Middle School in Owensboro.

While the investigation continues to find out exactly what happened inside this home, neighbors and community members will grieve the loss of a friend.

"She'll be missed in the school system. Just a shock. Just a shock," said Davis.

Henderson County Schools released this statement:

"The Henderson County School family is deeply saddened by this unfortunate incident that occurred early this morning, resulting in the death of assistant dance coach, Michelle Lewis Cotter.  The Henderson County High School Admin. Staff Crisis Intervention Team and guidance counselors are in place at the school to assist students and adults.  Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this time." 

 The Superintendent of Daviess County Public Schools sent this out Tuesday morning:

DCPS family -We have received very tragic news this morning concerning a member of the DCPS and College View Middle School family.

Michelle Lewis Cotter, a guidance counselor at CVMS, died this morning. News outlets are sharing further details about this tragedy, but I just want to ask you all to remember Michelle's family and friends in your thoughts and prayers at this time.

Our thoughts are also with the staff and students of CVMS and with members of our district Crisis Team, which have responded to provide support and assistance.

Thank you for your continued support of one another as we deal with this sorrowful news.

Mike Gray
Interim Superintendent

HPD says they're still collecting evidence, and no one has been charged in connection with Michelle's death.

When asked if police was naming Steven Cotter as a suspect, Richmond responded, "Not at this point. He is involved of course, but you know, we're leaving everything open."

While a community mourns the loss of a dance coach and friend, officers say they're working hard to find out just what went on.

"We're just trying to follow all the leads we're getting and just try to work up to the events that led to this tragic incident," said Richmond.

Police say Steven Cotter is still in the hospital in Evansville.

We'll keep you posted with any new information.

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