Portland Jewish community shaken by murder-suicide


(JTA) — A murder-suicide in Portland, Ore., has left two Jewish day school students orphaned.

Portland police said that Ian Elias, 47, killed his ex-wife, Nicolette Elias, 46, at her home and then fled across town with his two daughters, ages 8 and 9, the Oregonian newspaper reported Tuesday. After a confrontation with police, Ian Elias shot and killed himself. The daughters, who attend the Portland Jewish Academy, were recovered unharmed.

The girls  are staying with close family friends, who are acting as guardians for the state, which took temporary custody of them.

The day school brought in counselors and rabbis to speak to staff on Tuesday, and additional counselors for students on Wednesday.

The Oregonian reported that Ian Elias had a long history of mental illness, drug and alcohol abuse, and erratic, abusive behavior. His ex-wife had obtained restraining and stalking orders against him, and the Portland Jewish Academy and Mittelman Jewish Community Center also had obtained orders to keep him off their properties.

The day school had hired extra security to provide protection against Ian Elias.

In a court filing in January, Nicolette Elias described her ex-husband as “obsessed with his collection of guns and weapons,” the Oregonian also reported.

Ian Elias had spent 15 months in Israel to attend a rehabilitation program and subsequently stayed to study in a yeshiva. His mother told the Oregonian that her son was bipolar, but that he refused to follow his court-ordered treatment regimen.

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