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Associated Press

WHEATLAND, Wyo. (AP) - The principal of Wheatland Junior High School died Thursday after fatally shooting his wife and then himself on Monday, police said.

Ferris Morrison died at United Medical Center-West in Cheyenne. His wife, Kathy Morrison, was pronounced dead at the scene of the shooting.

Police found the couple shot in their home after a 911 call Monday afternoon.

Kathy had multiple sclerosis and was in a wheelchair, Sgt. Randy Chesser of the Wheatland Police Department said. Chesser declined to say what may have prompted the shooting.

The couple had a grown son who lives in Wyoming, Chesser said.

"The investigation is still open. We're just waiting for the autopsy to be performed," Chesser said.

Platte County School District No. 1 Superintendent Don Bryngelson said Morrison has been an educator in the district nearly 30 years.

"All we can do right now is try to help the students and staff get through this tough time," he said.

He said the students have been handling the news well.

"The staff is having a tougher time with everything," he said. "Many of them have been teaching with Mr. Morrison for a long time. Some have been with him for as long as 25 years."

Counselors including local clergy have been working with the district's students and staff since the shooting.

Morrison was a social studies teacher before becoming an administrator.

Gov. Jim Geringer called the deaths "a very personal loss." The Morrisons lived near his parents and attended the same church.

"Whatever the situation that prompted it, probably the thing that's the mystery to everybody who knew the Morrisons was how matters could get to this point," Geringer said.

"It just leaves everybody with an aching heart. A very tragic situation. We see these kinds of things happen from time to time in every community but when it happens close to you, it really hits hard," Geringer said.

Copyright 2002 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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