DEARBORN, Mich. – A woman reported missing in Tennessee was discovered dead inside the trunk of a vehicle driven by her girlfriend who crashed when police tried to stop her in Michigan. After the collision the girlfriend opened fire on officers before fatally shooting herself, the Dearborn Police Department said.
Eleni Kassa, 31, was reported missing by her family in Tennessee on Nov. 18 after she failed to pick up her daughter from school, Murfreesboro Police Department said in a press release.
An investigation “revealed a possible domestic violence incident occurred with Kassa and her girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, 36, following an argument at Kassa’s Murfreesboro apartment,” according to the police press statement.
Both women reportedly drove off in Hardwick’s Dodge Charger as police launched an extensive search for Kassa.
With the use of license plate readers, the Dodge was tracked to Ohio and then Michigan, the New York Post reported.
On Sunday afternoon, officers in Dearborn tried to stop the vehicle, which subsequently crashed into a residence and shots were fired at police.
The Dodge Charger sustained major damage in the crash. Eleni Kassa was found dead in the trunk of the vehicle and and her girlfriend, Dominique Hardwick, shot and killed herself after firing at officers, according to the Dearborn Police Department. (Screenshot FOX 2 Detroit)
“As officers approached the crash scene, there was an exchange of gunfire between the officers and the suspect,” Dearborn police said.
Hardwick was shot and did not survive the encounter. Autopsy results revealed that she died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, CBS News reported.
An unidentified 34-year-old woman was a passenger in the Dodge at the time of the crash and subsequent gunfire. She sustained unspecified injuries and was transported to a local hospital for medical care. The woman was interviewed by investigators as part of the case. Her relationship/involvement remains unclear.
The circumstances surrounding Kassa’s death remain under investigation. Autopsy results have not yet been disclosed, although preliminarily, authorities have been able to determine that she did not die as a result of the collision.
Kassa and Hardwick had a prior incident of domestic violence as police were summoned to their residence three months ago. Hardwick told officers she pushed Kassa and hit her in the face during an argument over a text from another woman, Fox 2 Detroit reported.
Hardwick was charged with aggravated domestic assault after Kassa said she had trouble breathing when her partner grabbed her by the neck, according to the news outlet.
The circumstances surrounding Kassa’s death have not yet been determined. (GoFundMe)
Hardwick was charged with aggravated domestic assault after a fight with Kassa three months ago.(dominique.hardwick/Facebook)
Ericka Downing is a representative of the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Center in Murfreesboro.
“Heartbroken, sad — and it’s so hard to watch and see anyone lose their life, but especially in a domestic violence situation,” she told WTVF. “We’re praying for the family. I’m praying for their peace as they walk through this tragic loss.”
Downing hopes the tragic case “brings a spotlight and awareness to the fact that domestic violence does exist,” adding that there are “agencies across the state of Tennessee that are here to help.”