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The woman shot to death by her husband Thursday in a University of Utah parking lot had recently told him that she planned to file for divorce, according to her family.
A statement from the family of Katherine Peralta released Friday said they are "heartbroken" as they mourn her loss due to "this senseless act of domestic violence."
The family said they believe the fatal encounter occurred because she had recently separated from her husband, 25-year-old Richard Peralta, and had told him she planned to file for divorce in January.
Richard Peralta fatally shot his 23-year-old wife about 4:45 p.m. Thursday in the west parking lot of ARUP Laboratories, 500 S. Chipeta Way, according to University Police Chief Dale Brophy. Richard Peralta then shot himself, Brophy said, and was taken to a hospital, where he died.
Tim Clayson, Katherine Peralta's uncle, said Friday that the couple had been married since 2012, and they had a son who is nearly a year-and-a-half old.
Clayson said he was not sure if there was a history of abuse or explicit threats between the couple, but said they had "relationship problems" that his niece had worked to resolve through counseling and other means.
"She did confide in the family recently that she was concerned about her safety and the baby's safety, emotionally and otherwise," Clayson said. "And that she did need to divorce him."
She was dedicated to her son, Clayson said, and was a kind soul and good person.
"She is just a victim in a terrible tragedy," Clayson said. "And we are heartsick for all of the parties involved."
The family's statement also called Katherine Peralta "a kindhearted and gentle person, loved for her genuine and soft-spoken nature."
"We love Katie, we miss Katie," the statement added, "and her loss will be felt for many years to come. We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support and prayers from friends, family and the community during this tragic time."
Katherine Peralta had worked at ARUP Laboratories as a technician, according to her uncle.
In a statement issued Friday, Edgar Braendle, CEO of ARUP said the company is "grieving the loss of one of our employees."
"Our hearts go out to the families and friends impacted by this tragic event," Braendle's statement said. "At this point, we are focused on providing emotional support to our employees and are providing counseling onsite to help people through this difficult time."
ARUP is a medical testing and research company and a major tenant at the university's Research Park.
ARUP's website says it has more than 3,000 employees at its campus building.
Utah court records show no protective orders related to the couple. Clayson said his niece had not yet filed any papers to initiate the divorce.