Doctor Dies of Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound at Presbyterian College

PENDER COUNTY, N.C. – Joseph R. Arena, 51, a North Carolina emergency room physician, killed himself Nov. 9 after choking his wife earlier in the week.

Police officials say that Arena choked his wife in their driveway the morning of Nov. 7, nearly killing her. Arena fled the state before authorities could arrest him on charges of attempted murder, assault on a female, felony strangulation and communicating threats.

On the afternoon of Nov. 9, Arena was spotted on the campus of Presbyterian College in Clinton, S.C. When a campus officer approached Arena, the two engaged in a struggle, at which point Arena pulled out a gun. One shot was fired during the struggle, and when the police officer pulled away to draw his own gun, Arena shot himself.

In the time between Arena’s assault on his wife and his suicide, Arena was involved in a car accident and broke into a home where he stole four guns and the keys to a Toyota Tundra pickup truck. Evidence found in the stolen truck suggests Arena was living out of it.

Arena had no prior criminal record or history of spousal abuse.

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