Man’s death leaves hearts heavy in Leavenworth as estranged wife stands accused of murder

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

LEAVENWORTH, Kan. -- Leavenworth police are investigating a domestic violence incident that left 54-year-old Gary Frantz dead. Some people in Leavenworth say they were shocked to learn of his death.

The community calls it a great loss. While they wait for more to be released about what lead up to the deadly shooting, they're remembering Gary as kind, and dedicated. They say they didn’t know much about his personal life, but that he brought something special to the VFW post, through his volunteer work.

Monday night, ahead of what might normally be a jovial night of bingo play, a bit of a somber mood hit VFW Hall 56 in Leavenworth. It was sinking in for folks there that auxiliary member Gary Frantz will no longer be able to help out with events like these.

"Anything we needed from him down here at the post, you`d find him helping out in the kitchen or coming to assist with bingo, or any of the events we had," said post commander Steve Davis.

It appears helping out is one of the last things he did before he died. Davis says Frantz was volunteering for an event at the post Friday night, and left at about 8:30. About 30 minutes later, police say they found Frantz dying from gunshot wounds about five blocks away.

His estranged wife Barbara Frantz has been charged with first degree murder in his death.

Police say she had been living in Kansas City, Kan., and made her way to Leavenworth to carry out the shooting. However, she was picked up in Burlingame, Kan., the next day.

"We believe there was some family that`s there, and that`s how she ended up there," said Leavenworth Police Chief Pat Kitchens.

The deadly incident is being called domestic violence, however, police can`t say who had been the aggressor during this estranged couples' marriage. Those details are part of the investigation, and may come out during a trial.

"Certainly we have a lot of work to do in terms of what happened prior to the event, what the status of the relationship is. Those kinds of things," said Chief Kitchens.

Meanwhile, Davis says his heart goes out to the Frantz family experiencing yet another loss. Gary Frantz was a Gold Star father who lost his son in the Iraq War in 2005. Lucas died on his 22nd birthday. Friends say it`s one of the reasons he decided to lend his service, the way he did.

"He was a great member of our post and a member of our community," said Davis.