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Stephen, Angelique Trono Talk of Shooting


While love is a beautiful thing, it?s also a force of nature. For Stephen Trono, the intense love of his wife and family is the only reason he?s alive today.

(911 call:) Dispatcher: what’s going on out there? Caller: my mom just accidentally shot my dad.

Several years before that early July morning in 2010, Stephen Trono was single and developed property in Bend.

Then one day, Angelique came into his life.

?So he came down to introduce himself and welcome me to the neighborhood, but I definitely did feel, that I felt like he was checking me out, gosh what is with this guy,? Angelique Trono said recently.

Stephen offered her a job, but during the job interview, Angelique says she knew something was up.

?Finally I just stopped and said are you really interested in hiring somebody?? Angelique said. ?He says, ‘Not originally, I’ll make a position for you. But to be honest, I’m more interested in dating you.’?

They bonded almost immediately.

?I always loved her attitude, her heart,? said Stephen Trono.

?It was just his charm and his enthusiasm for life,? Angelique said. ?I mean he’s just one of those people, I always tell people he’s only got two speeds: it’s stop and go.?

They got married, raised four boys together and made a home in Bend.

Stephen continued his work as a property developer.

Angelique helped home school their children.

Then in 1996, their home in Redmond caught fire.

And 11 years later, their large Bend home also caught fire.

That ignited some suspicion from authorities.

?The insurance company, Safeco, has many resources, and all I can say is that they voluntarily settled a claim for more than the claim was, and they’re insuring us now,? said Stephen.

?They went through everything,? added Angelique. ?They have unlimited resources. We’ve gone through many psychological profiling sessions, they went through our finances.?

The family moved into rental homes.

While the family debated moving into a more permanent home, life went on.

Angelique threw Stephen a surprise 60th birthday party around New Year’s Eve of 2010.

At that private party, they say, an intruder attacked Angelique in the facility?s bathroom.

?There was somebody standing on top of a toilet seat and they assaulted her,? Stephen said.

The assault left Angelique with post-traumatic stress.

It also made Stephen angry.

He consulted with a friend and decided to buy her a .38 detective special, similar to this one. A gun that?s lightweight, with little to no recoil.

?Did you have a conversation with her about buying the gun?? I asked him in our interview — the first with both husband and wife done with a Central Oregon reporter.

?No, I just bought it,? said Stephen.

?You just bought it?? I asked.

?Just bought it and said, ‘Here it is,’? Stephen said.

?What did you think of that, Angelique?? I asked.

?He bought it for me for Valentine?s Day,? Angelique said. ?So he actually thought he was doing something terrific for me.?

Angelique kept it by her bedside.

Although she never fired it during the next several months, Stephen did train her on how to use it.

?He had convinced me, knowing this isn’t true,? Angelique said. ?He obviously confessed this later. He convinced me that if you shoot in the stomach, it’s just going to stop them. It’s not going to kill them. So I didn’t know any better and I listened to him. He also told me to shoot it until it’s empty.?

As the nights went by, Angelique says she continued to struggle with the memory of being assaulted.

Stephen said it was common for to wake up anxious, thinking she heard a noise.

So in the early morning of July 28th, 2010 when Angelique woke up suddenly thinking she heard a noise, Stephen immediately went to investigate.

Even though he says he was still half-asleep after taking a sleeping pill, Stephen grabbed a baseball bat and went outside the home.

?I tried to get him to take the gun,? Angelique said. ?And he said no, you keep it. And he said if someone comes back in that’s not me, shoot it.?

Later, after hearing someone outside the bedroom, Angelique called out.

?And I’m like, ‘Honey, is that you?’? said Angelique. ?I’m saying it quieter, but he’s like, nothing. And I’m like, ‘Stephen, is that you?’ And then I’m thinking, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m really going to have to shoot him!’ Now you have to remember he went out with a baseball bat. The person I saw didn’t have a bat in their hands.?

?Then I walk in,? Stephen said. ?And I think I’m going to walk into the master (bedroom). And in front of the master over here is an atrium and over here is the master and before the master is a small office. So you come off the atrium and the office and you step up and it’s the master. And that’s when I saw the lights flash.?

?I have to tell you this,? Angelique said. ?To shoot somebody, whether you think your life’s in danger or not, is a very, very difficult thing to do. So me thinking this is not my husband, this is someone — it took everything I had to pull that trigger anyway. And I just did it because I had two kids out there and two kids upstairs, I honestly thought someone was there to harm us. And I thought they took that baseball bat out of his hands and hit him over the head.?

Angelique had fired all six rounds.

Three went into Stephen’s abdomen. Another went into the back of his hand, showing Stephen never put his hand up in self-defense.

All the sudden all I hear is, ‘Honey, I think you shot me,’? Angelique said. ?And just like that, as calm as can be. It wasn’t, ‘You shot me,’ it was, ‘I think you shot me.’?

Still, Stephen says he was aware of his surroundings.

?You could see her face?? I asked.

?That hurt more than the. … When I saw that she recognized it was me, that was actually more painful than the bullets I had taken,? Stephen said.

?And you knew from the moment it happened, it was an accident?? I asked.

?From the moment it happened,? said Stephen. ?From the moment I saw her face. And she was just totally distraught, and it was an accident. Plus, she’s been my best friend, and she’s a much better person than I am, and better wife than I am a husband, and better mother than I am a father. She’s an incredible woman and a … I think it’s much harder on her than me, having to be characterized as the woman who shot her husband.?

(911 call):

Dispatch: how’s he doing? Let’s talk about his breathing. Is he breathing normally?

Caller: No he’s having a lot of trouble breathing.

Dispatch: Can you describe his breathing for me?

Caller: Yeah, it’s really, really slow. He has kind of a grunting, forced whisper thing.

?I was struggling for breath felt like I was on fire,? Stephen said. ?And I prayed. And that’s when I felt this overwhelming presence of peace and love and the pain went away. And I was able to relax. She was panicking, I was able to relax. I need to slow down my breathing.?

Doctors would later tell Stephen that only about 10 percent of people with his type of injuries make it to the hospital alive.

?And I told the paramedics, this was an accident,? said Stephen. ?It sounds surreal, but it’s a big factor — being so calm is why I didn’t bleed to death.?

?Even when he was in the hospital he was this way,? Angelique said. ?He was worried about me. He was like, ‘Honey’ — he’d grab me and pull me down to him and say, ‘It’s going to be okay. It was an accident. Don’t worry about it.’ And that’s why. People were like, ‘How can she walk around the hospital and not care? — and I cared. But I knew in my heart he was going to wake up.?

?The reason I, one of the biggest reasons I pulled, I made it, is because I wanted to be there for her,? Stephen said. ?I knew this was going to be tough. When I saw that on her face … I knew she needed me.?

It was an intense 10 weeks of rehab, surgery and uncertainty for Stephen and his family.

And Angelique soon discovered some people doubted their story.

?There was one time when I was walking through the hospital,? Angelique recalled. ?It was actually the morning after Stephen got there, and they had kicked me out and said, ‘Go get some coffee.’ And so I walking down, and two people who worked at the hospital were walking in front of me and they said, ‘Oh, can you believe this? This lady that’s 20 years younger than her husband shot him last night, and wants everyone to believe it was an accident.’ So that was the first kind of thing where I was like, ‘Whoa.’?

Their children started to hear the whispers of speculation too, that this was no accident. That their mother shot their father on purpose.

The couple’s 11-year-old told his mother as much during a walk outside the hospital.

?So we were talking and he said, ‘Yeah, you know, a lot of people are talking about what’s going on,? Angelique said. ?And I’m like, ‘Oh, how does that make you feel?’ And he goes, ‘I think of things like, I just need to love them anyway.’ And I was like, ‘You know, that’s really good advice. That’s what I’m going to do.’ So after he got out of the hospital, I really remembered and thought wow, ‘My 11-year-old is telling me to love them anyway.’?

After rehabilitation was over, the questions persisted.

Police were finally able to ask Stephen about what happened.

After sending the police report to the district attorney’s office, no charges were filed.

?And we realize that even after this, people are still going to doubt and have questions and stuff. But we just feel that if we told our story, then that’s what we can do,? Angelique said. ?We can tell it — I mean, there’s been a lot of good that’s come out of it. Yes, we’ve had a lot of terrible things happen to us, but so have other people. Ours just happen to be on the front page of the newspaper.?

?During this whole thing, I’ve seen the best of people, and I see the worst,? Stephen said. ?I think there are people that have a lot of anger or hate, and that’s crossing the line. The comments like that are over the top.?

Today, the Tronos have settled near Portland.

They are moving on from the recent tragedies and say they’re better people for it.

?One of the things I’m disciplining myself to do is draw from this experience,? Stephen said. ?Draw from the good parts, the positive parts from it. Our love has grown deeper.

“You have a choice: You can either get better, or you can get better. And better’s better. And you know, laugh at yourself. And it’s certainly made me trying to be more thoughtful — kinder; humble. And I’m looking forward to the years I have left.?

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