MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) - Murphysboro police are investigating a suicide by house explosion after a woman was beaten with a rubber mallet.
Police were called to the 1500 block of Oak Street in Murphysboro around 1 a.m. Friday after a 28-year-old rural Murphysboro woman reported being attacked with a rubber mallet.
The woman told police she had gone to the home of Thomas Allan Miller, 54, after he called her and asked for assistance.
The woman told police when she arrived at Miller's home in the 1600 block of Oak Street, he attacked her with some type of hammer and struck her in the face and head.
Nick Woods was visiting his mother for Thanksgiving and woke to the sound of her screams in the street.
"I heard some racket, something maybe like pounding or some noise," Woods said. "I heard a lady running down the street screaming, 'Help me! Someone's trying to kill me!'"
Woods said he ran outside to see what was going on and found the woman sitting on the neighbor's porch. Woods asked neighbors to call police.
"And they said they were already on the phone with the police, and they were on the way," he said. "She (the victim) was pretty beat up in the face."
The victim was taken to a local hospital.
As police officers went to Miller's home to speak with him, 911 received an anonymous called from a man saying if police tried to come into his him, he would blow it up. He told the 911 dispatcher he was already filling the house with gas.
Officers were able to speak with Miller briefly through the front door and could smell the gas.
More officers arrived and were able to talk to Miller over the phone. While on the phone with Miller, officers shut off the gas to his meter.
Then, Miller told police he had a firearm and went to the front door, but refused to interact any more with the officers.
As officers backed away from the house, Miller apparently started a fire in the living room. Within a minute, an explosion blew out some of the windows of the house. A second explosion was heard just minutes later inside the house.
Fire engine lights woke neighbor Blaine Ensor. Ensor said he ran to the window and saw flashing lights and a lot of smoke.
"(I) couldn't tell where the smoke was coming from because, of course it was dark, and then we figured out it was from Tom's house," Ensor said.
After firefighters were able to knock the fire down, they found Miller unconscious in a hallway.
He was taken to St. Joseph's Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Murphysboro police said Miller's autopsy was conducted Friday afternoon.