Murder-suicide in Sherman Oaks: Doctor Alex Michaelson shot wife before killing himself

LAPD police cars (License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbct/3379987729/
LAPD police cars (License: CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) http://www.flickr.com/photos/alexbct/3379987729/ Photo by alexbcthompson via Flickr Creative Commons

A physician shot and killed his wife before taking his own life in the driveway of their gated Sherman Oaks home, police confirmed today.

Dr. Alex Michaelson, 39, and his 33-year-old wife, Vera, were found dead of gunshot wounds to the head, a pistol between them in their driveway.

Paramedics sent to the 15000 block of Sherview Place, East of Woodcliff Road, about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday summoned police to the scene.
  
Los Angeles police Lt. Terri Brinkmeyer of the Van Nuys Station said detectives determined the deaths were a murder-suicide. No note was found, and investigators are interviewing family members to try to determine a motive.
  
Alex Michaelson was a native of Russia who practiced medicine in Tarzana. According to Vera Michaelson's Facebook page, she hailed from Minsk, Belarus, and earned degrees from Belarus State University of Technology and Cal State Northridge. She had just completed the dentistry master's program at Nova Southeastern University in South Florida.
  
Her husband, according to the California Medical Board website, received his medical training at the Moscow Medical Stomatological Institute and changed his name from Alexandre D. Mihelson at some point after his California medical license was issued in 1998. Michaelson was board-certified in infectious diseases and internal medicine, according to the medical board website.
  
The couple's two children, ages 5 and 7, were staying with family members, according to Brinkmeyer, who said the family recently moved into their home. Detectives at the scene said there appeared to be scant furniture in the house.

Neighbors told officers that they heard three to four gunshots between 11 a.m. and noon on Wednesday, Brinkmeyer said. Residents told NBC4 that the couple were found by a co-worker who came to check on the physician after he abruptly left work, saying that he had an emergency.
  
ABC7 reported the couple had been planning a 40th birthday party for Alex Michaelson.

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