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Colleagues praise Fort Worth couple found dead in apparent murder-suicide

FORT WORTH -- They were an accomplished couple — he a decorated police officer and active-duty Army reservist, she a gifted medical student just five months from becoming a doctor of osteopathic medicine.

On Monday, police were still trying to determine exactly what happened in their north Fort Worth home early Sunday.

Pablo Colonvega, 36, was found dead Sunday morning from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office. His wife, Makasha Colonvega, 34, had been fatally shot.

Police said Monday that an initial investigation indicated that the deaths were a murder-suicide.

The times of death were listed as 8:13 a.m. Sunday.

Fort Worth police offered no more details about the shooting Monday. The medical examiner said both were shot with a handgun. Makasha Colonvega had been shot several times.

“Our homicide unit is investigating their deaths,” said Lt. Paul Henderson, a Fort Worth police spokesman.

The Colonvegas had two young children. Media reports said that they were home when the shootings took place in the 5300 block of Mineral Creek Drive, but that they were not harmed.

As police tried to sort out circumstances leading to the couple’s deaths, colleagues praised their contributions to others.

Pablo Colonvega was hired by the Irving Police Department in May 2005, said police Lt. Richard Gilmette. He spent a year in training and another year on patrol, where he distinguished himself with two commendations, Gilmette said.

One came during the arrest of suspects during a burglary, and the other during the arrest of theft suspects, Gilmette said.

“In both calls, the superintendent felt what he did warranted being singled out,” Gilmette said. “It was good work on his part.”

Colonvega returned to the Army as an active-duty reservist two years later, and his military leave from the Police Department was extended last April, Gilmette said. It was unclear whether he had been called for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan.

A public records search indicated that Colonvega had been stationed at Fort Hood, but a spokeswoman there said military officials could not release information about him until 24 hours after his relatives had been notified.

Police officers who trained with Colonvega were being offered counseling.

Similar support was being offered to Makasha Colonvega’s fellow students at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth.

Dennis Shingleton, an assistant dean, said she was enrolled at the center’s Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine and was to graduate in May.

She had already completed rotations in surgery, pediatrics and obstetrics and was in a primary-care rotation when she died, Shingleton said.

“She was in the final stretch, the last lap,” Shingleton said. “She was a very bright student who was held in high regard — just extraordinary. I mean, she was Phi Beta Kappa.”

Makasha Colonvega had graduated with a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Alaska at Anchorage, Shingleton said. Records show that she was once employed by the Army, but it was not clear whether that was as a civilian or as an active-duty soldier.

Shingleton said she had studied to be a chiropractor, although he did not know whether she had worked in that field.

Public records show that she held a license to practice chiropractic medicine beginning in April 2005, with an expiration date of August 2006.

Students and faculty were preparing for a candlelight vigil Thursday evening. Shingleton said some of Colonvega’s classmates who are doing rotations at other medical facilities would attend the ceremony.

Staff writer Alex Branch contributed to this report.