DALLAS - Police said the son of a Highland Park couple witnessed his father attack his mother, then fatally stab himself.
Dina Steele was sleeping when her husband, 50-year-old John Rodman Steele, began attacking her with a knife, Highland Park police said. As she fought to defend herself, her 16-year-old son walked in and attempted to disarm his father, police said.
Authorities said Mr. Steele then fled the room, running downstairs as his son called 911 and assisted his mother. The son told police he ran downstairs after his father, which was when he witnessed Mr. Steele stab himself with a knife.
"He never turned the knife on his son," said Sgt. Lance Koppa of the Highland Park Department of Public Safety. "His son tried to disarm his father."
Mr. Steele died at Baylor University Medical Center. His wife remains hospitalized at Baylor, where she underwent treatment for non-life-threatening stab wounds.
"She, and everyone, as we understand it, are completely surprised by this," Koppa said.
Police said the couple's 12-year-old daughter was also inside the home.
They have not determined a motive and are awaiting toxicology reports from the medical examiner to determine if Steele had any medications or chemicals in his system.
Police said someone from inside the house called 911 at 4:18 a.m., but the call was disconnected. The dispatcher was able to hear commotion in the background, so police were to the house. Two more 911 calls were made, including one from a female in the house.
"My husband is trying to stab me with a knife," Mrs. Steele told the dispatcher. "And then he tried to stab himself with the knife. Please hurry."
Police confirmed they have never received prior calls related to domestic violence at the home, located in the 3200 block of Cornell Street. They have only responded once to a call regarding a complaint about noise in the neighborhood.
The home the couple lived in is valued at more than $2 million, according to county tax rolls. The Steeles recently purchased an adjoining lot and added on.
Mr. Steele was a successful businessman who sat on the board of two local banks.
"Rod was a good, kind, Christian man -- the kind of man I would call a gentle businessman," said Mark Lovvore, who served on the boards with him.
He called him a considerate and compassionate friend.
David Calhoun had known Steele since they attended the University of Texas in Austin together and pledged a fraternity at the same time.
"On the outward appearance, nothing was wrong," he said. "This just doesn't make sense."
"I never heard anyone say a bad word about him," Calhoun said of his longtime friend. "He is the last person you'd think this would happen to."
Meanwhile, neighbors said they are stunned. They can't believe the couple, who they said never uttered a cross word, could get into any kind of a deadly fight.
Neighbors said the couple is active in the neighborhood as members of the Highland Park United Methodist Church and that the dad was a Cub Scout leader and always out with his kids. Rod was reportedly a Sunday school teacher for children.
"We are deeply, deeply saddened for the entire Steele family," read a statement released by the Highland Park United Methodist Church. "There are many questions still unanswered, but we know that God is with them — and as a body of Christ, we will be also. In times of tragedy, our faith reminds us that nothing can separate us from God's love."
Other neighbors described Mrs. Steele as a sweet mom who participated in Bible studies.
Neighbors also spoke highly of the couple's two children. The son is reportedly active in drama at Highland Park High School and their daughter apparently babysits for at least one nearby family.
The children are staying with relatives.