Help sought before shooting
AMHERST – It was no secret John Trombly needed help. The 35-year-old Amherst man had been brought to the hospital twice in July 2014 after drinking to excess. On Sept. 13, he threatened to kill himself if a friend didn’t buy him beer, according to police.
It was later that day that his loved ones tried to help. His friends and his mother, Elizabeth Trombly, staged an intervention, hoping he would get help for his drinking and addiction to prescription medications. He promised to check himself into a detox center on Monday.
But barely 24 hours later, neighbors heard six loud bangs coming from the Meadow Lane home the Tromblys shared. Two days later police found Elizabeth Trombly’s body, shot multiple times in the chest and stomach. John Trombly was found in bed, also dead, with a partially consumed bottle of alcoholic lemonade nearby.
On Thursday, the state attorney general’s office issued its final report on the deaths, confirming that John Trombly murdered his 69-year-old mother before killing himself with an assault rifle. The five-page report found Trombly went out to purchase cigarettes, alcohol and orange juice shortly after murdering his mother, then returned to the residence where he used an AK-47 to shoot himself in the head.
Elizabeth Trombly, known to her friends as Betsy, was a teacher at Captain Samuel Douglass Academy in Brookline. Amherst officers entered the house after she missed two days of work and the school’s principal asked police to check her well-being.
Police say John Trombly struggled with alcohol and prescription medication addiction following a gastric bypass surgery and had at times sought treatment. He had recently moved into the Amherst home with his mother.
"I think our thoughts are always first and foremost with the family involved, and so we want to make sure we’re there for the family and that they receive our attention," Stacey Pawlik, assistant attorney general, said. Police spoke to neighbors who recall hearing six loud bangs at 7:30 a.m. on Sept. 14. Video surveillance shows John Trombly purchasing cigarettes and a six-pack of Mike’s Hard Lemonade at a convenience store on Boston Post Road in Amherst five minutes after the noise was reported.
He is later seen in footage buying orange juice at Market Basket in Nashua around 9 a.m., wearing the same clothing police would later find on his body.
Investigators found multiple cartridge casings and bullets in the area of Elizabeth Trombly’s body, as well as in the kitchen trash bin and room where her son’s body was located. Empty bottles of Mike’s Hard Lemonade were also found in the garbage, one partially consumed container was near John’s body. His blood alcohol level was roughly four times the legal limit for driving at the time of his death.