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Newlyweds found dead in murder-suicide

Relatives, friends, neighbors stunned that husband shot wife, then himself

JOSH REYNOLDS FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Neighbors consoled each other near the Hopkinton home of Todd Vogel and his wife, Lori Levangie.

HOPKINTON - On Sunday afternoon, Steven Votolato happened to see Todd Vogel just as his longtime neighbor arrived home on his motorcycle. Throwing his leg over his bike, Vogel flashed his trademark grin and wished him a happy Easter. Even more than usual, he looked happy, his neighbor said.

“He really did,’’ Votolato said Monday, as he watched homicide investigators move in and out of Vogel’s lakeside home. “That was last time I saw him. It’s unbelievable.’’

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On Monday morning, Vogel and his wife were found dead in their home, fatally shot in a murder-suicide. Vogel, a 43-year-old electrician, apparently shot his wife, Lori Levangie, 41, then turned the gun on himself, authorities said.

“It’s a terrible tragedy,’’ Gerard T. Leone Jr., the Middlesex district attorney, said outside the couple’s Hayward Street home, where neighbors gathered in a show of support and shared grief.

Leone said it was not clear what precipitated the shootings, and neighbors said the couple, married in November, had seemed content. Police Chief Richard Flannery said there had been no reports of domestic violence.

The homicide was the first in Hopkinton, a suburb west of Boston, since 2006, when Neil Entwistle killed his wife and 9-month-old daughter, authorities said.

Vogel’s father, Charles, said his son had seemed in good spirits and showed no signs of distress. He recalled his son as a good man, hard worker, and loyal friend.

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“He was loved by everybody,’’ he said. “He would give you the shirt off his back.’’

He said his son, who grew up in Medway, had been an electrician since graduating from high school and ran his own business.

The elder Vogel said he saw no signs of discord between the couple, and when he last saw his son a week ago at his Medway home, things seemed normal. He said he had no idea what could have brought his son to this point.

“Right now, I’m just trying to get through the initial shock,’’ he said. “We’ll see how tomorrow goes.’’

Neighbors were stunned and saddened by the violent deaths, recalling Vogel as a popular, friendly presence in the close-knit area who often held parties and in the summer would invite neighbors to join him in his backyard.

“I can’t even fathom this,’’ said Maureen Hart, who said her husband and Vogel often swapped tools. “This is just very, very sad.’’

Hart and other neighbors said Vogel enjoyed working on his house and had added on to it over the years. He was also a World War II buff who collected military vehicles that he drove in area parades.

“He was a good soul,’’ she said, fighting back tears.

Vogel did not have children, his father said, but several neighbors said he was looking forward to having a family.

Robert Falcione/ HopNews.com

Todd Vogel (right) and friends warmed up Babs, one of his World War II vintage tanks he kept at his Hopkinton home.

“They were both happy,’’ said Votolato. “He was just a real community guy, always had a smile on his face.’’

Ronald Brown, a neighbor, said Vogel was a solid, salt-of-the-earth man.

Neighbors said they did not know Levangie well, and Charles Vogel said he did not know how she and his son had met. Her relatives could not be reached for comment Monday. Leone said Levangie’s family lives out of state.

A co-worker of Vogel’s found the bodies just before 9 a.m., authorities said. The time of the shootings was not clear, but both had been seen Friday night, Leone said.

The bodies were found close to each other near the back door, Leone said. The gun, which Vogel was licensed to own, was found at the scene.

Leone said there were no signs of a struggle and no evidence that drugs or alcohol played a role in the shootings.

A friend, Michael Hayward, said Vogel would host large parties during Patriots games, and was quick to help friends in need.

“He was just that type of guy,’’ he said. “If you needed something, he was there for you.’’

Hayward said friends who saw Vogel in the past few days saw nothing amiss. “Nobody could have ever seen this coming,’’ he said.

Mark Dendunnen, 52, said he had been good friends with Vogel for 20 years, recalling him as a “fun-loving, level-headed guy.’’

He did not know Levangie well, but said when he installed carpet in the couple’s house last fall, Vogel seemed very happy with his marriage.

“There’s nothing you can say bad about the guy,’’ Dendunnen said. “That’s all I can say.’’

Globe correspondent Zachary T. Sampson contributed to this report. Peter Schworm can be reached at schworm@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.

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