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Mainline affair leads to murder-suicide, police say



Villanova University Deputy Vice President was shot dead on Tuesday night after a murder-suicide affair shocked a quiet Delaware County neighborhood, police said.

Meredith Sullivan Chapman, 33, had just moved to a three-story brick house on Lowry's Lane in the Radnor Township with her dog Indy, friends said to NBC10.

On Monday night, her lover's wife broke into Chapman's house, waiting for her to return and kill her.

The shooter, identified as Gennair Gerardot, turned the gun on himself. Gerardot's body was found near the kitchen, not far from Chapman, police said.

"She broke into the house, she was lurking and she shot her when she came in and then she shot herself," Radnor Township Police Commissioner William Colarulo said. "There were e-mails and text messages pointing out what [Gerardot] had planned."

When investigators arrived at the scene, Gerardot's husband, Mark Gerardot, told officials that his wife might be inside.

Investigators found the shooter's weapon a wig and a women's clothing that Chapman did not own at the scene. Investigators believe the shooter may have disguised himself before he breaks into the house.

Police say murder suicide was the result of an affair between Mark Gerardot and Chapman.

"You had a man who was married and had an affair with this other woman," Colarulo said. "The woman knew about it and that was a calculated, planned attack."

Neighbor Tom Dougherty was stunned by the news and told NBC10 that "this does not normally happen on this street."

"Nothing ever happens on this road."

Chapman was a former WHYY producer for his Delaware office and ran an unsuccessful bid as a Republican for a state Senate seat in Delaware. She was also married to Newark City Council Luke Chapman.

"Our hearts are broken by the devastating loss of our new colleague," Villanova University officials said in a statement. "The thoughts and prayers of the entire university community are with their family, friends and colleagues during this extremely difficult time."

Chapman's family called her a "beacon for anyone lucky enough to meet them," statement said.

"She loved her family fiercely, was a compassionate friend and among the most talented and innovative professionals in her field," she wrote. "Her death was sudden and tragic, but he will not determine who she was among the thousands of people she loved."

Meredith Chapman

Photo credit: Courtesy University of Delaware

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP : The National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


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