West Tisbury woman who shot husband sought court protection

West Tisbury police and State Police crime scene investigators remained at the house for much of the morning. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Updated 11:30 am, March 26

Cynthia Bloomquist, who weeks earlier had sought and been denied the protection of the court, wrestled with her husband, Kenneth Bloomquist, for control of a pistol he pulled out, after he shot his wife with a shotgun in the house they owned at 19 Skiff’s Lane, early Friday morning.

Mr. Bloomquist, 64, died at the scene. Ms. Bloomquist, 63, was transported by ambulance to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital where the hospital trauma team had already assembled.

She had been shot in the torso. She is recovering from her wounds, her lawyer, Sean E. Murphy, said in a press release issued Monday, March 26.

Mr. Bloomquist was armed with a shotgun and a pistol, according to Mr. Murphy. “After Cynthia Bloomquist was shot with the shotgun, Mr. Bloomquist then produced a handgun and attempted to shoot Cynthia Bloomquist with the handgun,” Mr. Murphy said. “During a violent struggle for the handgun, the gun discharged, hitting Mr. Bloomquist.”

Mr. Murphy said that an earlier report that Ms. Bloomquist had a pistol was incorrect. “Cynthia Bloomquist did not have any firearms in the home,” he said.

The couple was separated, police said. Cynthia Bloomquist lived in the two-bedroom house, just off Old County Road.

At 7:45 am, West Tisbury police received a report of a man pointing a gun at a woman at the Skiff’s Lane house, police said in a press release. West Tisbury requested that the Island’s Tactical Response Team also respond.

“While in route to the scene, the police department was advised that the female was shot and that the man was dying,” the press release said. “Dispatch then advised that both parties had been shot. Two ambulances were called to the scene.

“A team of four officers went into the house and found the parties upstairs in the residence. The woman was transported to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for treatment of a gunshot wound, and the male died at the scene.”

Mr. Bloomquist arrived on the Vineyard on the 6 am boat Friday morning, according to one person with knowledge of the investigation. He cut the telephone wire to the house and broke in the door.

He then shot his wife. Ms. Bloomquist called 911 on her cellphone. A violent struggle ensued.

Police blocked the intersection of Old County Road and State Road, following reports of the shooting, as emergency vehicle sirens sounded down-Island.

Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, alerted to the developing emergency by the police calls, held the emergency room night shift and alerted the hospital’s special trauma unit. Two surgeons and an anesthiologist were waiting when the ambulances arrived.

“The trauma team was ready for anything,” Tim Walsh, hospital chief executive, told The Times Friday. “Everybody did a great job.”

Imminent danger

The Boston Globe reported Friday that Ms. Bloomquist had sought a restraining order against her husband earlier this month. The Globe, quoting West Tisbury Sgt. Skipper Manter, said Ms. Bloomquist went to the West Tisbury police station on March 1 and filled out an affidavit for “an order of protection from abuse” from her husband.

Such orders must be appproved by a judge and are based on a fear of imminent bodily harm. Superior Court Judge Robert Kane denied the request, the Globe reported.

State Police crime scene investigators, assigned to the Cape and Islands District Attorney’s office, arrived on the Island Friday to assist West Tisbury with the investigation.

Citing the ongoing nature of the investigation, West Tisbury Police Chief Dan Rossi referred all calls and requests for information to the office of Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O’Keefe.

In a telephone call Friday afternoon, Mr. O’Keefe told The Times he would not confirm that Ms. Bloomquist had sought a restraining order or make any copies of police reports available at this time.

Mr. O’Keefe said the shooting remained under investigation, but that further information would be released as the investigation progressed.

Mr. O’Keefe confirmed that Mr. and Ms. Bloomquist were licensed to carry firearms. He said that Ms. Bloomquist “had access to a small caliber pistol.”

He said it apppears that Mr. Bloomquist shot his wife with a shotgun, but a more complete picture of what occurred would be available next week, as the investigation progressed.

Longtime seasonal residents from Harvard, Massachusetts, the retired couple were pilots and owned a Cessna 182-R airplane. They traveled frequently to the Vineyard. Ms. Bloomquist was a retired MIT administrator, Mr. Bloomquist a retired businessman.

The couple sold the home they owned on South Shaker Road in Harvard on October 25, 2011, for $520,000, according to assessor’s records.

School took action

The scene of the shooting was less than one mile from the West Tisbury School on Old County Road. Principal Michael Halt said he called Chief Dan Rossi as soon as he heard about police activity on Skiff’s Lane.

“Several kids either have that bus stop or drove past it on school buses or in their parents’ cars, and clearly saw a large presence of police activity going on there,” Mr. Halt said. “In this community, we don’t see a tactical response team every day on someone’s front lawn, so that certainly heightened everyone’s concerns.”

Mr. Halt said that his initial concern was that the incident might have involved a student.

“In the midst of everything Chief Rossi was dealing with, he took the time to inform me of what was going on and quickly put my mind at ease,” he said. “He let us know what we didn’t need to worry about and made sure we knew what we did need to do. I shared that information with the appropriate school staff members.”

Mr. Halt said assistant principal Donna Lowell-Bettencourt, secretary Sue Merrill, and head custodian Manny Estrella joined several teachers in front of the school building. Their calming presence as students arrived was very beneficial, he said.

Mr. Halt said it was fortunate that police made the decision to block off a section of Old County Road after the last school bus run, which helped minimize the impact of the incident on the students’ arrival. Once classes were underway, he and Ms. Lowell-Bettencourt made the rounds through the building to make sure everyone was okay.

“The kids were great,” he said. “We were relieved to find there were no issues or concerns. I really appreciate the close working relationship we have with Chief Rossi and the rest of his force, and the professionalism of all of our staff members.”