Fatal Kosciusko County Shooting May Be Part Of Ongoing Custody Battles

By Emma Koch - 21Alive
By Jeff Neumeyer

December 20, 2013 Updated Dec 20, 2013 at 6:42 PM EDT

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY, Ind. (21Alive) -- "Daddy needs help, mommy shot daddy".

Those words came from a 911 emergency call Wednesday night, as a young girl reported what appears to be the cold-blooded murder of her father inside his home in Kosciusko County.

It’s a crime that figures to leave a devastating mark on an entire family.

" It is so unimaginably sad that I'm still trying to process this," said Robert Wolf, a friend of 51-year old Steve Carman, who was slain at his home near North Webster.

Police say Carman had his 5 and 6-year old little girls with him Wednesday night, as he was showing off his place on Barbee Lake to a friend, when Carman's former girlfriend Sonya Armontrout popped out of a closet, and opened fire with a .9-mm handgun.

The friend, Joseph Glant, was shot in the behind, while Carman took three or four bullets in the chest.

Glant got away.

One of the girls called 911 dispatch, pleading for help.

Court documents suggest it all spiraled downward from there, as Armontrout is accused of stabbing Carman in the shoulder, then grabbing the gun again.

" She had then discharged, in an execution style, firing into Mr. Carman's head at that point in time," said 1st Sgt. Chad Hill, with the Kosciusko County Sheriff’s Department.

Though the motive is not clear, police say the two had a history of heated arguments involving the daughters.

" This was an issue over her mental health and custody of the kids," Wolf said.

Court documents indicate that Carman had a protective order against Armontrout, and that she had no business being at his place for another year and a half.

We also know that this wasn't the first time that violence hit Carman's family.

Police say Carman's brother was shot to death in the 1990's, somewhere away from this area, in some sort of dispute with a friend.

" Unfortunately his father has had to deal with now a second son in a loss in a murder situation," Sgt. Hill said.

Carman operated a successful boating pier service on several local lakes.

Carman is now gone, and Armontrout is at risk of spending the rest of her life behind bars.

Meanwhile, their girls are left to deal with the horror of it all.

"The tragedy is, they were there," said Wolf.

Police believe Armontrout broke into Carman’s house before pulling off the ambush.

She is charged with burglary, attempted murder and murder.

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