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Firefighters Die in Murder-Suicide

September 14, 2001

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DENVER (AP) _ A distraught fire captain fatally shot an assistant fire chief before turning the gun on himself Thursday, police said.

Charles Drennan Jr., the assistant chief, had gone to pick up Capt. Robert Cronin at his home to discuss problems Cronin was having, Fire Chief Rod Juniel said.

Cronin’s wife called police to report that her husband had shot another man inside their home. A SWAT team found the bodies of the two men and a handgun in the house, police said.

Juniel did not know the nature of Cronin’s problems but said Drennan sounded very concerned when he called Juniel to arrange the meeting.

Juniel said he didn’t know if Cronin was traumatized by the terrorist attacks Tuesday. Hundreds of New York City firefighters were missing after the World Trade Center collapsed.

``It’s been stressful for firefighters even in Denver, but to say that this triggered it, I can’t say,″ Juniel said.

He praised Cronin, 44, and Drennan, 50, as outstanding firefighters. Cronin had been promoted recently. Drennan was not his direct superior.

Assistant Fire Chief Keith Mehrens said Cronin did not face any disciplinary action but may have had medical problems. He would not elaborate.

Mehrens said Cronin and Drennan had fought a difficult fire inside a warehouse early Wednesday morning.

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