Tuesday, February 21, 2023 – An electrician is suspected of fatally shooting his beautician wife and their two kids before turning the gun on himself on Sunday morning, Feb. 19.
Authorities have not released the identities or ages of the victims in the murder-suicide in Linden in Union County, New Jersey.
One of the children – the couple’s son – initially survived the shooting that killed his mom and sister, according to ABC7. But the boy died hours later at University Hospital in Newark, Linden police said in a statement.
Neighbours were shocked by the horrific shooting and said the family were friendly, helpful neighbours who moved into their home in 2007.
“They’re a normal family. That’s why it’s impossible to believe,” Angel Montanez, 56, told The Post. “They go camping every long weekend, with a trailer they hook up to their car. They recently renovated their kitchen and he invited me over to show it to me.”
Montanez said he’d regularly chat about work with the father because they’re both electricians. The families would often take one another’s kids to school.
“You never know what goes on behind closed doors, but I’m still shocked. The whole family’s gone,” he said.
His wife took the slain children to school just last week.
“Never would have thought when I dropped them off at school last week that that would be the last time I saw them,” Marianela Montanez, 47, said. “I just can’t believe it. They were normal children. They’d walk the dog, they’d swim in the pool. Now they’re gone, just like that.”
She said she spoke to the slain wife when she did her hair last week.
“She was telling me about insurance, expenses, how the kids are graduating this year, the middle school prom — regular stuff you talk about,” she said. “She didn’t say anything about any problems.”
Another neighbor, 76-year-old Digna Alvarez, said she never heard any fighting from the home and described the father as kind and always willing to lend a hand.
“Every day we talked to him when he came home from work. He was an electrician. He helped with the electricity in our house. He was a very nice person, I don’t know what happened to him,” she said. “And the kids, beautiful kids. I never heard any fights, nothing.”
Alvarez, told ABC that she was home with her sister-in-law when the relative heard a child screaming.
“She heard somebody was screaming, but she was thinking someone was playing with the dog, and then no more,” she said.
There is no threat to the public, Linden Police spokesman Capt. Christopher Guenther told NJ.com after the killings.
Neighbors said the father worked as an electrician, while his wife was a beautician who ran a salon out of their home. The couple were friendly and walked their dog around the neighborhood, the residents said.
“I was in shock this morning,” Alvarez said. “It’s something you would never expect — never… There’s no reason to kill his wife and kids. I can’t believe he would do such a thing.”
However, a female resident who spoke on the condition of anonymity told ABC that the dad would sometimes shoot his gun in the backyard, leading to police visits.
“But never would I believe he would do something like that,” she said.
Alvarez’s husband, who said he spoke to the father Saturday, speculated that he had some kind of mental break.
“We were just talking yesterday,” Jose Alvarez, 83, told The Post. “He was telling me he was going in for an operation with his knee soon. Just a normal conversation… Maybe he just went crazy. I can’t think of any other explanation.”
Linden Mayor Derek Armstead wrote in a Facebook post, “This morning, Linden suffered another tragedy.
“There simply are no words to describe the trauma, heartbreak and sorrow that we are all experiencing.”