Family mourns mother killed by husband in murder-suicide at U of U Research Park

Posted at 10:03 PM, Dec 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-31 00:03:08-05

SALT LAKE CITY -- Family members of a Salt Lake City woman shared their grief and heartbreak Friday after police said Katherine Peralta was shot and killed by her husband Richard Peralta in a parking lot of the University of Utah Research Park Thursday evening.

In her photos, the face of a young mom smiles at the camera.

“She was an absolute angel,” said Peralta’s uncle, Tim Clayson. “She was sweet, and quiet, and soft spoken.”

Her son, not yet one and a half, was the focus of her life.

“He was the world," Clayson said. "He's the cutest little guy, and she was so devoted to him."

But Katie—as everyone called her—will never get to see her son grow up. In fact, he’ll grow up not knowing either of his parents.

“This is an absolutely overwhelming loss that no family should have to suffer,” Clayson said.

The 23-year-old died after police say 25-year-old Richard Peralta confronted her outside of her work at ARUP Labs Thursday evening. Then, police said he opened fire on Katie before turning the gun on himself.

Richard Peralta later died at the hospital.

Clayson said Katie and Richard married in 2012, and recently Katie had separated from him.

“There were troubles in the relationship, and she had worked hard over the past while to help her relationship through counseling,” Clayson explained. “She got to the point where she did not see it getting better.”

He said Katie told Richard she planned to file for divorce after the first of the year. He said Katie was scared, but there was no way the family could expect Richard would end up taking Katie’s life.

“We don't think she had any reason to believe that he would be capable of this,” he said.

Now, Katie’s son is left without parents, and her family is left to remember this woman they’ll always know as loving and kind.

“We as a family just want the world to know how wonderful Katie was, what a blessing that she was to us and those that she was around,” Clayson said.

He said they are angry at Richard for what he did, and they hold him responsible for his actions.

But when it comes to Richard’s family, he said they have nothing but warmth and love as they also grieve their loss.

Support is available 24/7 in Utah for those dealing with domestic violence. Visit the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition online or call 1-800-897-5465 for resources and assistance. In an emergency, dial 911.