Direct Media Employee Dies in Murder-Suicide

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A Direct Media Inc. employee was killed in a murder-suicide at the home of his girlfriend yesterday in Kent, NY.


Jens Runge, who was sales manager of the business brokerage division at Direct Media, Greenwich, CT, died of a gunshot wound at 4 p.m. yesterday in the driveway of a home on Old Forge Drive, Kent police said. Kent is located in Putnam County, 50 miles north of New York City.


Witnesses told police that after the shooting, the gunman went to his vehicle, retrieved more shotgun shells and then fled into the woods. Within minutes, more than 50 Kent police, Putnam County sheriff's deputies and state troopers were on the scene. Roadblocks were established, and a land and air search was conducted. At 5:30 p.m., a single gunshot was heard and Rafael Jimenez, 41, was found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.


According to The Journal News of Westchester County, the home was rented to Lori Ann Hagerman, who lives there with her seven children. Hagerman, who works as a broker in the business division at Direct Media, was married to Jimenez. Sources said that Jimenez and Hagerman were separated but that Jimenez was often seen at the house visiting the children. Police identified Jimenez as living in Brewster, NY, also in Putnam County.


"It's an extremely sad day for all of us. It's heartbreaking for someone who truly loved life to have his cut short at such a young age," said Direct Media founder/CEO David W. Florence. "It seems so unimportant to say how hard working he was and how hard he fought for his clients. Our prayers are with his family and friends. The entire Direct Media family will dearly miss him."


Runge and Hagerman had been dating but not living together, according to a friend of Runge, and they had a 3-month-old daughter, Mia Sophie, together. Runge had separated from his wife last fall and had just finalized the divorce three weeks ago, the source said. Runge was in the process of moving Hagerman and the children to his home in Hampton Bays, Long Island, NY, for the summer. He also had rented a place for her and her family to live in Stratford, CT, and was supposed to move in next month, said the friend, who asked not to be identified.


"Jens was a great, trusted friend and an eternal optimist," the friend said. "He will be dearly missed by all those fortunate enough to know him."


Runge, 36, of White Plains, NY, had more than 10 years of experience in the direct marketing business. He also was president of Atlantic Media Corp. He grew up in Hamelin, Germany, and graduated from the University of Constance in Germany and Rutgers University. He also was an avid sports fan and a marathon runner who had participated in 10 marathons, including the New York City Marathon as well as ones in Berlin and San Diego.


Runge is survived by his parents, Klaus and Olga Runge, and his daughter. Funeral arrangements were still pending.


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