Authorities say 84-year-old Loretta Purcell was stabbed to death by her son, who then took his own life in West Town

More than five hours after a SWAT unit surrounded an apartment building in West Town on Tuesday night, the body of Loretta A. Purcell was found inside the building she owned.

Authorities say the 84-year-old woman was stabbed to death by her son, 58-year-old Christopher Kelly Purcell, who then took his own life with a gun.

Family members said Christopher Purcell had long suffered from mental health and substance abuse issues, and lived in an apartment in the building, though in a separate unit than his mother, who never stopped trying to help him.

Officers responded about 4:30 p.m. to a call of a domestic shooting inside the building in the 800 block of North Wolcott, according to Chicago Police.

But Purcell refused to come out of the apartment, and a police SWAT team was called to the hostage/barricade situation, authorities said.

After surrounding the building near the busy intersection of Chicago and Wolcott, and stopping traffic on Wolcott for more than five hours, the SWAT team made entry into the home just about 9:45 p.m.

The victims were both found dead inside, according to police and the Cook County medical examiner’s office. They were pronounced dead at the scene at 9:58 p.m.

An autopsy Wednesday found Loretta Purcell died of multiple sharp force injuries, and her death was ruled a homicide, according to the medical examiner’s office. Christopher Purcell died of a gunshot wound to the head, and his death was ruled a suicide.

—Chicago Sun-Times Wire

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