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Flag at half-staff for murder-suicide suspect questioned at Veterans' Memorial

Veterans' Memorial

The flag at Veterans' Memorial at Pendleton Park in Harlingen remains at half-staff in honor of a late marine who served in two wars and co-founded the memorial.

John Grimes worked with Art Cohan as a committee member for the memorial.

"When we got together yesterday morning, we did this as a tribute to Art," he said. "At that time we didn't know the circumstances."

Harlingen police said Cohan killed his wife Debbie before taking his own life in a fiery explosion on Monday.

The apparent murder-suicide left his friend and fellow marine in shock.

"He was a career marine," Grimes said. "That's why the Marine Corps flag is flying underneath the American flag. It was a tribute to Art, the man, the veteran, the marine and not the whatever act that may have been committed."

People who know Cohan best believe his wife's death was a mercy killing.

She was left disabled after a drunk driver hit her.

Regardless of the circumstances, people at the memorial feel the lowered flag is fitting tribute.

"It's controversial but he did save a lot of other lives," Anastasia Suarez said. "We have freedom because of him. So that shouldn't be taken away."

"I think it should be at half-mast for what he did for his country," Warren Prescott said.

"I'd have to go with the flag at half-staff because he put his life on the line," James Mayer said. "He went into harm TMs way and he helped a bunch of others who went into harm TMs way. It's a tough call.

Grimes said marines are like family-- they stick together.

"God will be his sole judge."

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