The shooting deaths of an Offutt Air Force Base airman and his wife in their home Sept. 28 are being investigated as a murder-suicide, according to documents filed in Sarpy County District Court.
An affidavit requesting a search warrant of the home of Tech. Sgt. Zachary Firlik and his wife, Kari McManigal Firlik, said the bodies of the couple were found in an upstairs bedroom of the home, which is in the Rising View military housing subdivision near the base.
“Offutt Security Forces Member believed it was a murder-suicide of a husband and wife,” according to the affidavit.
Investigators found a six-shot Taurus revolver on the bedroom floor, with four spent shell casings and two unspent bullets in the revolver. The door to the bedroom was locked.
The Air Force Office of Special Investigations is in charge of the investigation, but a spokeswoman has not responded to phone messages or an email. Law enforcement officials have not identified the shooter.
Kari Firlik’s friends and family say they’ve been told it was her husband.
“It definitely wasn’t Kari,” said Shelley Bergmann, a friend of Kari Firlik’s who works at Kari’s father’s Omaha dental practice.
Bergmann said the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Faith, was at home on the Saturday evening when the shooting occurred. The girl heard gunfire upstairs and ran to the home of a neighbor, who called dispatchers at Offutt. Offutt Security Forces sent an officer to the scene.
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The dispatcher also called Sarpy County for help.
“We just got a report from a child saying their parents are dead at the scene. The lady who called us said that there was a bunch of loud bangs,” the Offutt dispatcher said. “So somebody at the residence has a gun that was shooting, and killed both the parents. A bullet flew through the wall.”
Bergmann said Faith and her older sister, Grace, 12, are now living with Kari Firlik’s father, Dr. Jerry McManigal. Kari Firlik’s son Jaden, 17, lives with his father.
Zachary and Kari Firlik were both 35 and had been married for seven years.
“There was no sign of domestic abuse,” Bergmann said. “It’s still a fresh wound. We don’t know what happened.”
Zachary Firlik grew up near Sacramento, California, and enlisted in the Air Force in 2002. His previous tours included stops in California, Nevada and Alaska.
He transferred to Offutt in April after Kari Firlik suffered a broken back in a car accident. Friends described her as cheerful, artistic and outgoing.
Her funeral was held Friday in Council Bluffs. She was buried in Blair.
“It was an incredibly emotional day laying her to rest,” Jerry McManigal wrote in a Facebook post.
Bergmann said Zachary Firlik’s father and brother, who are both named John, both attended her funeral.
“There were of course tears,” Bergmann said. “They loved Kari.”
Zachary Firlik’s funeral will be held Wednesday in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, according to a casualty assistance officer at Offutt. An obituary written by his family noted his 17 years of military service and said of him, “He was a hammer sent to break down barriers and build up bridges through people’s lives.”
Friends continue to raise funds for the future support of Kari Firlik’s children. So far, a GoFundMe page has raised more than $7,200.
Bergmann, who is part of the effort, said proceeds will help with future clothing, school and medical expenses for the children.
She said a spaghetti feed fundraiser is being planned for 5 p.m. Nov. 9, at Millard VFW Post 8334, 5083 S. 136th St.
“Anything we can put towards the kids,” she said.
World-Herald staff writer Erin Duffy contributed to this report.
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