CHICAGO (CBS) – Her tragedy hit the headlines this fall when Cassandra Tanner Miller’s husband shot and killed their son, one and a half, Colton Michael Miller, and then himself.

It was gruesome m*rder suic*de this should be prevented. CBS 2 detective Megan Hickey discovers why this happened and how Cassandra works to change her future.

On September 21, 2019, Cassandra was at home with her 9-year-old daughter Camryn and 18-month-old son Colton. She just put Colton down for a nap. When she turned, she saw her separated husband in the door leading from the back porch to the kitchen.

“He only said,” Are you all ready to die today? ” with that big smile on my face and I just shouted, “Cam, please go get your brother. Don’t stop for anything, ”Cassandra said.

Cassandra Tanner Miller
Cassandra Tanner Miller just threw her 18-month-old son Colton for a nap on September 21, 2019 when her estranged husband burst into her home, severely beat her, and killed Colton before taking his own life. (Source: CBS)

Cassandra said the details of what her estranged husband did that day were important for people to hear.

Christopher Michael Miller, 35, a former prison officer and member of the Illinois National Guard, severely beat and strangled Cassandra until she passed out.

“He pulled my hair,” she said. “I’ve been trying to grab things, I’ll see if I can get him to fire.”

After defeating Cassandra, Christopher climbed the stairs to the master bedroom where Colton was sleeping.

Christopher shot him and killed him.

“How can you do this to your child?” Cassandra asked.

Colton Michael Miller 2
Colton Michael Miller was 18 months old when his father, Christopher Michael Miller, shot him on September 21, 2019. His father also took his own life after beating his broken-up wife Cassandra Tanner Miller brutally and beating their 9-year-old daughter Camryn. (Photo provided to CBS)

Christopher then beat and strangled his daughter in the upstairs bathroom. When he saw Cassandra coming up the stairs, he let his daughter go and shot Cassandra and Camryn running out of the house.

Moments later, Christopher shot himself and committed suic*de.

Cassandra did everything she had to do to protect herself and her children from Christopher following their separation. She said law enforcement, the Illinois National Guard, and the judicial system had failed her.

Christopher shouldn’t have had a gun. His FOID card was revoked in January 2018 due to increased battery levels in DuPage County.

Illinois State Police sent a letter notifying Christopher that he must surrender the gun, but he never did.

Cassandra also alerted the Illinois National Guard by reporting her violent behavior and drug use.

“That he heard things, that he didn’t answer the way he should, and I was just told to mind my own business, and they would just stop answering my calls,” she said.

Colton Michael Miller, a former prison officer and member of the Illinois National Guard, had his FOID card withdrawn in January 2019, eight months before he shot and killed his 18-month-old son Colton and took his own life. (Photo provided to CBS)

A spokesman for the Illinois National Guard said they were investigating the way they handled its phones.

Illinois State Representative David Welter (R-Morris) said the courts had failed her too.

“I think it opened my eyes to a different way of thinking about domestic violence,” Welter said.

Welter said he is currently working on legislation to increase the possibility of placing aggressive criminals like Miller in the GPS alert system. He calls it Colton’s Law.

Colty, Baby boy is 2020 now. The year I’d start planning your second birthday. Do not start…

Posted by Colton’s legacy on Thursday 2nd January 2020

Cassandra founded a group called Colton’s legacyand hopes to extend its curriculum to the entire state.

“I just wanted him to be proud of me for worshiping him the way a mother should be, you know?” Cassandra said.

Colton Michael Miller
Colton Michael Miller was 18 months old when his father, Christopher Michael Miller, shot him on September 21, 2019. His father also took his own life after beating his broken-up wife Cassandra Tanner Miller brutally and beating their 9-year-old daughter Camryn. (Photo provided to CBS)

Meanwhile, Welter plans to enact Colton’s Law at Illinois House later this month.

Illinois police said they are still working on getting updated figures on the number of people actually surrendering their FOID cards. Our request has been waiting for a month.

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