A Georgia police officer who told authorities his wife fatally shot herself during a heated argument is now charged with murder.
On Wednesday, Michael Perrault, 43, a now-former Eatonton police officer, allegedly killed his wife, Amanda Pardue Perrault, 44, Putnam County Sheriff Howard Sills said, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
On Monday, shortly after 1:30 p.m., Pardue Perrault was found dead with a gunshot wound to the head in the bedroom of the couple’s home in Eatonton, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, citing Sills.
According to Sills, Perrault told him that while he and his wife were arguing, she suddenly picked up a gun on a nightstand and shot herself, the Union-Recorder reports.
Instead of calling 911, Perrault called Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence, who called Sills.
“Perrault had told him that his wife had killed herself and we of course responded immediately to the scene,” Sills said, WMAZ reports.
Perrault was “very distraught” when deputies arrived at the house after the shooting, saying his wife was upset with problems in their marriage, Sills said, WSB-TV reports.
Perrault was questioned and released Monday. But the sheriff’s office wanted to investigate further.
“This is a city police officer, and I didn’t want anyone to think … there was any kind of special treatment being done because he was a police officer,” Sills said Tuesday, the Union-Recorder reports.
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
Perrault was placed on administrative leave without pay after he was arrested the week before, on Jan. 28, on charges of simple battery, family violence and third-degree child cruelty after a heated argument in front of the couple’s 8-year old daughter, WMAZ reports.
After that first arrest, Perrault was taken to the Putnam County Jail.
He was released the next day after day he posted $1,500 bail.
During the bond hearing about the domestic violence arrest, the judge wanted to order the couple to avoid contact with each other, WMAZ reports.
But Pardue Perrault told the court her husband didn’t have anywhere else to go and that “he was okay to come home,” WMAZ reports.
Sills called the case ‘tragic, but not unusual in our society,” WMAZ reports.
After Perrault’s arrest, Eatonton Police Chief Kent Lawrence terminated Perrault’s employment at the department, WMAZ reports.
The Putnam County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
It is unclear whether Perrault has entered a plea or whether he has retained an attorney who can speak on his behalf.