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Man shoots self; child safe after hostage standoff

May 20, 1997

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) _ A man suspected of killing his mother-in-law and wounding his wife held a gun to his son’s head for nearly three hours Monday, then ended the standoff with police by shooting himself in the head.

Kevin Ronald Miller, 31, died later at Sacred Heart Medical Center, spokesman Tom Sofio said. His 19-month-old son, Dylan, was unharmed.

Miller had been sought since being charged with murder earlier this month in the shooting of his mother-in-law, Karen Kennedy, 49, in San Antonio, Texas. Her body was found May 4.

Last week, he was charged in Austin, Texas, with attempted murder in the shooting of his wife, Alison Kennedy, 25, and with kidnapping Dylan.

Miller left Austin with Dylan on Thursday, in the midst of a bitter custody battle with his estranged wife’s family, police and family members said.

His father-in-law, Michael Kennedy, said at a news conference in Austin that by shooting himself, ``Kevin Miller did make a contribution to society, finally, for the first time in his life. And that’s the only contribution that I’m aware of that he’s ever made in his life.″

Texas authorities said that on Thursday, Miller sneaked into a heavily guarded apartment where Ms. Kennedy was hiding and shot her in the head and thigh and took Dylan. She is in critical condition and relatives say she may be partially paralyzed and unable to speak for the rest of her life.

Early Monday, Miller and the boy were discovered sleeping in a car in the parking lot of a Spokane motel. After sheriff’s deputies learned his identity and approached his car, Miller fled and drove to a bank parking lot about a block away, where the standoff took place.

Ms. Kennedy’s family had been in hiding since March, when Miller took the boy and fled to St. Louis, Mo., Lt. Bud Baker said from Texas.

After a Texas court granted Ms. Kennedy temporary custody, she went to Missouri and, with the help of law officers, managed to retrieve the child.

Miller followed her and Dylan back to Texas and the death threats began in early April, Kennedy said.

After being taken from the car, Dylan was placed in foster care.

Kennedy said he planned to go to Spokane to get his grandson.

``I don’t know what the future holds,″ Kennedy said. ``I’m anxious to get up there and get that little ol’ guy back in my arms and return him back here to his mother.″

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