Children’s author, family found dead after shooting at Massachusetts home

A family in Massachusetts is dead following a tragic shooting incident in their home that authorities are looking into as a potential murder-suicide that resulted in the demise of two parents and their three children.

NBC News reported that a 43-year-old children’s book author named Joseph Zaccardi, along with his 40-year-old wife Deirdre, as well as their three children — 11-year-old Alexis and 9-year-old twins Kathryn and Nathaniel — were all discovered dead from gunshot wounds in their Abington, Massachusetts home on Monday morning.

A family member who was supposed to take the children to school made the grim discovery around 7:30 am and called the police immediately.

Zaccardi was the author of several children’s books that were being sold on Amazon. Both authorities and extended family members said there were no known domestic issues involving the family.

Possible murder-suicide

NBC 10 in Boston reported that investigators believe the family may have died in a murder-suicide incident, though it is unclear at this time which individual is suspected to have committed the murders before taking their own life.

“It’s a crime. A crime occurred in that building and three little children are gone forever as a result,” Plymouth District Attorney Tim Cruz said of the deadly event in the home.

“I think that when something unimaginable like this happens, there’s always going to be more questions than answers,” he said. “This is just a horrible, horrible event.”

Cruz reiterated that there were no known domestic violence issues with the family but noted that investigators would look deeper into that as a possible cause of the alleged murder-suicide.

Community reacts

A neighbor reported that she had heard loud banging noises the night before the family was found dead, but was put at ease when she saw an open dumpster door swinging in the breeze that she assumed was to blame. As it turns out, she may have actually heard the deadly shooting as it occurred.

The superintendent of the school system in which the three children were pupils alerted parents to what happened via an email and noted that counselors would be available for anyone needing assistance. Students at the middle and high school level were told of the tragedy by their teachers, but the younger elementary children were not informed about the sad events by school personnel.

A statement was issued by the extended family of the deceased which read: “Today our family has suffered an unfathomable loss. As we attempt to make sense of the enormity of this event, we respectfully ask that the media respect our family’s wishes to be left alone as we grieve our tremendous losses in private.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will eventually release a report detailing the exact cause and manner of death for the five family members. In the meantime, police will continue their investigation into the matter.

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