The man who shot and killed his wife of more than 30 years, his two daughters and brother in Vancouver on Sunday was a U.S. Navy veteran, truck driver, and father of five who has left surviving family members in anguish and disbelief as they try to understand why.
Stuart Rouse, 64, turned the gun on himself after the deadly spree in the family home. While it’s unclear what prompted the shooting, Stuart Rouse’s oldest son said his father suffered from depression and anxiety and had not recovered from his second son’s suicide two years earlier.
Investigators have released no information about what led to the killings.
Relatives on Wednesday confirmed that Stuart Rouse was the gunman and identified his wife, Cristina Rouse, 63; the couple’s daughters, Kristina Rouse, 33, and Melissa Rouse, 19; and Rouse’s younger brother, Ronald Rouse, 57.
Clark County sheriff’s deputies found them in the house near the intersection of Northeast 92nd Street and 112th Avenue, after family members asked police to do a welfare check in response to a concerning message Stuart Rouse sent them earlier in the day. The couple have a third child, an adult son, who lives with them and was away on Sunday visiting friends.
Stuart Rouse had no criminal record and a Clark County spokesperson said deputies had never before had occasion to visit the house, which records show he and his wife bought 30 years ago.
Stuart Rouse had undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression, said Kristoffer Rouse, who is a psychotherapist in Redmond, Washington. But he said his father was supportive and caring.
Stuart Rouse had moved from home to help Kristoffer Rouse when Kristoffer’s 35-year-old wife died in 2017, leaving behind their two children, he said.
Kristoffer Rouse is one of two sons from his father’s first marriage. Stuart Rouse’s first wife was the sister of his current wife.
Stuart Rouse’s other son from his first marriage, Brian Rouse, died in 2021 at age 38 of suicide. Stuart Rouse took his son’s death very hard, Kristoffer Rouse said, and “considered it his failure.”
The two-year anniversary of his younger son’s funeral was Monday, the day after the shootings.
Stuart Rouse served in the Marines for years, including at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island in the 1980s, and retired to spend more time with family, Kristoffer Rouse said. He worked for Wilkins Trucking Co. in Oregon until October 2018, a current employee said.
“We’re still in disbelief and our hearts are shattered,” Anne Aquino, Kristoffer Rouse’s wife, wrote on a GoFundMe page she posted to help pay for funeral expenses.
The page includes a photograph taken at the high school graduation last year of Melissa Rouse. She is wearing a red gown and black cap and standing between her mother and her father, whose left arm rests on his daughter’s shoulder.
Most recently, Melissa Rouse was a student on the Washington State University’s Vancouver campus, class of 2026, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She’s been a peer mentor for incoming students since the summer. The business school quoted her three weeks ago on its LinkedIn page.
“My main goals this semester (have) been to foster a sense of community among first-year students and assist them in their transition into college life,” she said, according to the post.
She was following in the footsteps of her older sister. Kristina Rouse finished her business degree at the same campus in 2017 and has been working for a Seattle-based health care company since soon after graduating, according to her LinkedIn page.
The sisters were also both “huge fans” of the TV show “Supernatural,” Kristoffer Rouse said.
Stuart and Cristina Rouse have another child, Kyle Rouse, who was visiting friends in Everett that weekend.
Kristoffer got the text message from his dad indicating he’d caused somebody harm around 8:30 a.m. He didn’t see it until around noon, because he was sleeping. After he saw the message he started calling family members and asked his half-brother, Kyle Rouse, to call Clark County authorities and ask for a welfare check to the house.
When deputies first got to the house that afternoon to check on the family, they couldn’t make contact with anyone inside. They had information that Stuart Rouse might have a gun and called in the regional SWAT team. They eventually sent a drone inside the house, which showed them five people’s bodies in the house.
— Fedor Zarkhin
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If you or someone you know is considering suicide, help is available. Call or text 988 for 24-hour, confidential support, or visit 988lifeline.org.
Help is also available if you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE or find resources at thehotline.org.