Highland Park Man Attacked Wife, Fatally Stabbed Himself

Prayer service to be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at family's church

Thursday, Jul 12, 2012  |  Updated 11:59 AM CDT
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A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday for the family and congregation affected by the stabbing in a Highland Park home.

Ben Russell, NBC 5 News

A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. Thursday for the family and congregation affected by the stabbing in a Highland Park home.

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Highland Park Stabbing Shocks Community

Friends who knew a Highland Park man who attacked his wife and then fatally stabbed himself say they are shocked by the attack.

911 Call Released in Highland Park Stabbing

Highland Park police released the 911 call from a stabbing early Wednesday morning. Police say a father of two tried to attack his wife in her sleep, then turned the knife and killed himself.
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Police say a Highland Park man with no prior history of violence attacked his wife with a knife while she was sleeping before fatally stabbing himself.

Highland Park police said Dina Steele awoke to her husband, John "Rod" Steele, stabbing her. Steele then stabbed himself multiple times after their 16-year-old son intervened in the attack, police said.

"There's no indication that there was any argument prior to this event taking place ... There was no argument earlier in evening," Sgt. Lance Koppa said. "We have not or ever been called to this residence on any type of argument or domestic dispute."

"Everybody is surprised, including us," Koppa said.

People who spoke with NBC 5 on Wednesday repeatedly mentioned that Rod Steele had recently started taking pills to help him sleep. Police said they are aware of it and are waiting to see what the medical examiner's toxicology report shows.

Police said they received a 911 call from the home in the 3200 block of Cornell Avenue at about 4:15 a.m. On the call, Dina Steele told dispatchers: "My husband's trying to stab me with a knife. And then he tried to stab himself ... Please hurry."

Investigators said the couple's 16-year-old son heard his mother screaming, went into the bedroom and disarmed his father.

Police said Rod Steele then went downstairs into the kitchen and stabbed himself multiple times. He was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, where he died shortly after arrival.

The 16-year-old boy was not hurt.

Investigators said they removed a knife from the upstairs bedroom and several bloody knives from the kitchen.

Dina Steele, who sustained minor stab wounds, was also hospitalized. She was in stable condition Wednesday night.

Police interviewed the couple's children, the 16-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. The children are with relatives.

"This is a very shocking and surreal experience," said Mark Lovvorn, a family friend.

Rod Steele was a successful Dallas businessman who also owned a BMW dealership Midland and sat on the boards of two Dallas-area banks.

Lovvorn said Steele was a loving family man.

"Rod was a very caring, soft-spoken, patient person, keen business man -- the kindest business man you'll encounter from time to time," he said. "He was very considerate and polite in 18 years I knew him."

Friends said Steele spent hours volunteering at Highland Park United Methodist Church, where he and his wife led Sunday school instruction.

"I would describe him as a deeply committed Christian, as well as a very caring person that was cloaked in courtesy in everything he did," Lovvorn said.

Highland Park United Methodist Church said in a statement that it was deeply saddened for the entire Steele family.

"There are many questions still unanswered, but we know that God is with them and, as a body of Christ, we will be also," church spokeswoman Allison Aars said.

The church said on its website that grief counselors would be available. A special service will be held at the Highland Park United Methodist Church at 7 p.m. Thursday for members of the family and congregation.

NBC 5's Ray Villeda, Ben Russell and Ellen Goldberg contributed to this report.

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