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Couple Shoot Each Other in Counseling Session

April 24, 1998| From Associated Press

FRESNO — It was just a routine marriage counseling session for the Rev. Russell Willingham--until the beer-toting husband took a shot at his wife and she drew her own gun and fired back.

"They were arguing. It was your typical domestic dispute. Then the fireworks started," Willingham said.

Both Michael and Bonnie Martin survived their wounds after Wednesday's gun duel. Willingham was not injured.

Willingham said he met the Martins about a year ago and hadn't seen them again until recently. He said the shooting broke out near the beginning of Wednesday's session.

Michael Martin, clutching a beer in one hand, fired first when his wife began to leave the room, the Rev. Bud Searcy, head of New Creation Ministries, told police.

Bleeding from her wound, Bonnie Martin drew a gun from her purse and fired back, hitting her husband in the shoulder, police said. She followed him outside before collapsing. Her husband opened fire again, emptying his gun and hitting her at least once more, Searcy said.

Michael Martin was treated at a hospital and released. Bonnie Martin underwent surgery and remained hospitalized Thursday in serious condition, a spokesman said.

Police will seek charges of attempted murder against the couple, Det. Mike Garcia said.

Records show that Bonnie Martin had filed divorce papers three times since 1989, most recently on Feb. 23.

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