Rusty Coblyn

A convicted felon killed his wife, stepson and then himself Wednesday inside a midtown home, Tucson police said.

A second stepson arrived at the house after the slayings and narrowly escaped being shot after fighting with his stepfather who tried to shoot him twice with two separate guns that both malfunctioned, said Sgt. Pete Dugan, a Tucson Police Department spokesman on Thursday.

The slayings occurred in a house in the 6000 block of East 20th Street, in a neighborhood west of South Wilmot Road and north of East 22nd Street.

Homicide detectives were able to piece together that Rusty Coblyn, 49, killed his wife, Willa Coblyn, 59, earlier Wednesday. She was found in a back bedroom with obvious signs of trauma, Dugan said. An autopsy will have to determine the wounds and cause of death, he said.

At about 3 p.m. Wednesday, Matthew Johnson, 26, came home and was shot multiple times by Rusty Coblyn in the living room. Then, just after 4 p.m., Matthew's twin brother arrived home and was confronted by his stepfather at gunpoint, said Dugan.

Detectives said it appears Rusty Coblyn attempted to shoot his second stepson, but the gun malfunctioned. He then forced the stepson to a back bedroom where he retrieved a second gun that also malfunctioned, Dugan said.

Both men fought and the stepson, who suffered cuts to his head and several abrasions, escaped from his home and ran to a neighboring house where he yelled for help, said Dugan.

Detectives believe a gunshot heard by officers who responded to the scene was from Rusty Coblyn taking his life. 

The bodies were found after a robot with a camera was sent into the house, and Special Weapons and Tactics team members used a second camera to see inside the bedroom, Dugan said.

Shortly before 5 p.m., police received a 911 hangup call from a cellphone, and police responded to the area where the call originated. As officers were arriving, a second call from a resident in the 6000 block of East 20th Street reported a neighbor came to his house and said he found a family member dead in his home and needed help.

Officers went to the house of the second caller and spoke to him and his neighbor who asked for help. While talking to the men, officers heard a gunshot from the home of the neighbor.

The officers took cover, along with the men, and then the men were walked out of the area by the officers who then began evacuating nearby houses.

The SWAT team, the bomb squad and hostage negotiators were called in. After speaking through a loud speaker for about two hours trying to make contact with people inside the house, and not hearing anything, police obtained a search warrant for the house, and used the robot to enter the house.

The body of a man was found inside the front area of the home, and a second camera showed the bodies of a man and woman in another room.

SWAT members entered the home and confirmed the three were deceased.

Rusty Coblyn has a long criminal history, being sent to prison for criminal damage, auto theft and three aggravated assaults in crimes dating back to 1995, according to court and Arizona Department of Corrections records.

Records show he and Willa Coblyn were married in 2003.

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar