A Maryland couple and their three children were found shot dead inside their home in an apparent murder-suicide that was allegedly carried out by the father, authorities said.
The deceased family members have been identified as Marcus Milligan, 39, his wife, Tara Ricker Milligan, 37, and their children, 14-year-old Teresa, 11-year-old Nora and 8-year-old Finn.
Autopsies confirmed that all five people died from gunshot wounds, the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office said in a new release on Saturday.
According to the authorities, an unnamed man had called 911 on Friday morning to report that a woman and three children had been shot at a home in Elk Mills, about 60 miles northeast of Baltimore.
Deputies who responded to the scene on Hebron Court found the father dead inside a detached garage, with a semi-automatic handgun lying next to him.
The bodies of Ricker Milligan and her children were found throughout the house.
Authorities said there is no ongoing threat to the public.
“It’s a horrific day, and I know everybody’s prayers are appreciated,” Sheriff Scott Adams said during a press briefing on Friday. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing from people concerned about this and upset about this.”
The sheriff didn’t provide a possible motive for the shooting. He said his office has no records of previous calls to the Milligan family’s home.
Neighbors said the family had moved to the suburb about two years ago.
The Milligans’ next-door neighbor said the father had been over to his house last Monday to use his printer to print a book report for his daughter.
“It was just as normal as you can be,” the man named Jeff told the station WJZ. “There was no hint whatsoever of anything.”
Those who knew the doomed family said the parents had lost their youngest son, Conor, to childhood cancer three years ago.
Family friend Alisha Minter wrote a moving post on Facebook about the scourge of mental illness — and apologized to Marcus Milligan on behalf of their community for failing to check on him “in these dark times.”
“I’m so sorry that you felt this was the only way out of it,” Minter wrote. “Tara and the children should be alive today. They didn’t deserve this. Marc should be live today. You didn’t deserve this either.”
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.