Kristy Flowers — pictured with her mother, Patricia Flowers — was killed Monday in a murder-suicide in Arlington. (Courtesy of Patricia Flowers)

To his girlfriend’s family, Ray Savoy seemed an attentive, loving boyfriend. The 29-year-old carried Kristy Flowers, an aspiring lawyer, up and down the stairs after she had surgery on her foot and often made sure that her baths were accompanied by candles and chocolates. About a month ago, Savoy broached the subject of marrying Flowers with her mother, father and other relatives.

But there were signs of trouble, mostly in hindsight. On a trip to visit Flowers’s family in Ohio, Savoy drank a lot and talked about a gun he kept in his car, Flowers’s brother said. The young man seemed unusually interested in his girlfriend’s hugging a male friend, her mother and father said. And his talk of marriage came after only months of dating, a little premature for some in Flowers’s family.

On Tuesday, police officials in Arlington County said they believe that Savoy fatally shot Flowers, 31, inside the apartment they shared on North Kensington Street in the Westover neighborhood, then shot and killed himself. Their bodies were discovered late Monday afternoon, after Flowers’s mother, concerned that she hadn’t been able to reach her daughter all weekend, got in touch with an apartment maintenance man, who contacted police. Lt. Kip Malcolm, a police department spokesman, said detectives found a handgun in the home. Arlington police had never been called to the apartment for domestic violence.

“To me, they were like the perfect couple,” said Patricia Flowers, Kristy Flowers’s mother. “There was nothing to indicate that he was a violent person.”

Kristy Flowers, relatives said, was a woman on the rise: a vibrant, outgoing, ambitious person who worked for the government contracting firm Leidos and was studying law at American University in hopes of becoming a defense attorney. Patricia Flowers said she affectionately considered her daughter a “diva.” Her daughter, she added, had two BMWs and loved to sport apparel from Louis Vuitton.

Kristy Flowers hailed from northeast Ohio but had lived in the Washington area for many years, having completed her undergraduate work at George Mason University, family members said.

Patricia Flowers said she was present in July when her daughter met Savoy at Falls Church’s Babylon Futbol Cafe. Kristy Flowers was scheduled to have an operation a few days later and decided to go out with her mother and others for a sort-of last hurrah, Patricia Flowers said. Flowers said her daughter spotted a security guard she thought was attractive and asked her mom to talk to him on her behalf. The guard’s name: Ray Savoy.

The next day, Patricia Flowers said, Savoy and Kristy Flowers went out for milkshakes. And when Kristy Flowers had her surgery, Savoy stopped by frequently to walk her dog, carry her up the stairs or draw baths for her, complete with wine and candles, Patricia Flowers said.

“He was very nice. He was very polite,” Patricia Flowers said. “He was so caring.”

It soon developed into a deeper relationship. The two made a handsome couple, posting pictures on Facebook when they went out for drinks and dinner. Last month, family members said, the pair traveled to Ohio to celebrate the 50th birthday of Kristy Flowers’s brother, Jeffrey, who said Savoy asked for his sister’s hand in marriage. “I just shook his hand and said, ‘Hey, welcome to the family,’ ” he said.

Jeffrey Flowers called his sister’s death “shocking to us,” although in hindsight, Savoy did exhibit some unusual behavior on the trip to Ohio, he added. He said that Savoy drank a lot and talked of a gun in his car — though at the time, Savoy also talked about working in security and being in the military.

Jesse Flowers, Kristy Flowers’s father, said Savoy seemed jealous when his daughter hugged a male friend. He said he was surprised that his daughter and Savoy were living together after only months of dating and even more surprised to hear talk of marriage.

“I said, ‘My daughter ain’t ready to get married.’ I knew then he was a danger to her,” he said, his voice beginning to crack. “I don’t know what else I could have done except warn my kid.”

Patricia Flowers said that at one point, her daughter expressed reservations about Savoy, but when she inquired about those feelings later, Kristy Flowers assured her, “No, Mom — I love him.” The woman’s parents told the couple that they should wait until Kristy Flowers finished law school to think about nuptials.

Court records indicate that a man with Savoy’s name and the same age appears to have been the target of protective orders in years past. All but one were dropped before they were finalized.

A man who identified himself as Savoy’s father and another relative declined to comment for this article.

Patricia Flowers said that she last spoke with her daughter as she was driving home from work Friday and that nothing seemed amiss. Her daughter told her that Savoy worked on Saturday and that she planned to spend the day studying and cleaning, Patricia Flowers said. She said she could not reach her in the days that followed and eventually got in touch with the apartment maintenance man, who reached police.

Hamil R. Harris contributed to this report.