SHOREVIEW SHOOTING: Divorce papers claim violent past - Fox 2 News Headlines

SHOREVIEW SHOOTING: Divorce papers claim violent past

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As investigators confirm that 57-year-old Nancy Sullivan was killed while she was moving away from her estranged boyfriend, 65-year-old Johnny Simpson, FOX 9 News found his divorce papers claim a violent past.

According to court records, Simpson's ex-wife said she moved out days after he assaulted her during a fight 12 years ago. She filed for divorce a month later, claiming she wanted to get out of an abusive relationship.

In the Shoreview neighborhood where Simpson spent years living with Sullivan, neighbors say they thought of the pair as a social and loving couple.

"What I heard was pretty shocking," Kfir Batiller told FOX 9 News. "Didn't expect him of all people to do something like this. I would see them outside by the pool, having a good time. They would invite us to go swimming too."

Yet, court records from divorce papers filed more than a decade ago describe Simpson as a man with a history of abusive and bullying behavior. In 2001, he accepted a guilty plea for disorderly conduct after being initially charged with domestic abuse in connection with a fight with his ex-wife.

At the time, Simpson's ex-wife told the court he grabbed her by the shirt collar and held his finger against her throat so she couldn't breathe. She also claimed to have a scar on her lip from when he pushed her while their son was a baby.

In a petition for custody of the boy, she wrote, "When Simpson is under stress or surprised by new facts that he did not anticipate, he will respond in an angry and abusive manner."

Filings in Ramsey County show the family had reached out to the Family Violence Network as the couple was parting, and that Simpson's ex-wife moved out three days after a physical attack at the end of March. The documents further claim that Simpson withdrew $58,000 from the joint checking account without her knowledge or permission, and that his own affidavits are inconsistent about where that money went.

Neighbors told FOX 9 News they saw no signs of violence between Simpson and Sullivan, and while the makeshift memorial in front of the Shoreview home they shared continues to grow, the community waits for answers.

"I just want to know what really went down, why it happened," Batiller said. "He didn't seem like the type of guy who would do something like that. It's weird."

Investigators say Simpson is their suspect in the quadruple shooting, and family members confirmed the move-out had been planned a week in advance.

Sullivan's daughter, Katie Fay, remains in critical condition at Regions Hospital after she was shot in the stomach. Her boyfriend, Tony Brown, was shot in the leg.

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