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Victims in Manatee murder-suicide identified

MANATEE -- Renee Johnson was still replaying the tragic shooting deaths of Thanksgiving night in her head Friday.

She had just returned from dinner with her family and was watching television with her mother-in-law and husband, Calvin Johnson, at about 7 p.m. when they heard gunshots coming from the apartment next door in the 4700 block of U.S. 41 North.

Immediately afterward, William Rolston, 26, arrived at her door and told the Johnsons to call the police.

“I killed somebody,” Rolston told the Johnsons, according to Renee Johnson.

That someone was his former girlfriend, Lindsay Ann Bellow, 26, according to detectives.

Minutes after arriving at the Johnsons’ door, Rolston returned to his apartment and shot himself to death. “All the evidence points to a murder-suicide,” sheriff’s spokesman Dave Bristow said at the scene Thursday night.

In a phone interview Thursday afternoon, Bristow said there was an argument between the pair, which led Rolston to shoot Bellow multiple times.

Renee Johnson said her husband tried to calm Rolston down when he arrived at their front door.

“He kept saying ‘I ruined my life,’ ” Renee Johnson said.

Calvin Johnson followed Rolston back to his apartment where he saw him sitting on the bed, reloading the gun and raising it to shoot himself.

“Don’t do it. Put the gun down,” Calvin Johnson said he told Rolston.

Moments later Rolston cocked the gun and fired.

The 911 operator was on the line the entire time.

Rolston had lived in the apartment for only about two weeks, according to Renee Johnson, and in that time her husband had spoken to him only once.

“No one really knew him,” Renee Johnson said. “I believe my husband could have talked him out of it, but it wasn’t in God’s plan.”

This isn’t the first time Rolston was involved in a domestic incident that turned violent.

In 2004 he was charged with domestic battery after he got mad at another woman because he wanted to listen to rap music instead of what she had playing on the radio, according to court records.

Rolston allegedly pushed the woman and her husband jumped in and stopped the fight, an arrest report said.

The charges against Rolston were later dropped.

Renee Johnson said although she knows the shooting was a part of an isolated incident, she still wants to move.

She said she has been talking to friends and family about the incident all day but knows she will never forget it.

For now she is turning to religion and prayer for guidance.

“We prayed before we went to bed last night for the families,” she said.

-- Herald reporter Angeline Taylor contributed to this story.

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