The district attorney said Wednesday that an Abington, Massachusetts, father shot and killed his wife and their three children before taking his own life earlier this week.
Police received a 911 call for a medical emergency at a condo on Centre Avenue around 7:30 a.m. Monday. When they arrived, they found the body of 40-year-old Deirdre Zaccardi. Upon further investigation, they found the bodies of 9-year-old twins Nathaniel and Kathryn, 11-year-old Alexis and 43-year-old Joseph.
The person who found the bodies was a family member who had arrived at the home to bring the children to school.
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The Plymouth County District Attorney's Office said Wednesday that the chief medical examiner ruled that the cause of death for Deirdre Zaccardi and her three children was shooting by firearm, and the manner of death was homicide. Joseph Zaccardi's cause of death was a gunshot wound and the manner was suicide.
Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz said earlier this week that investigators were not aware of any ongoing domestic violence issues but will continue to look into that.
"There's nothing glaring out there that would lead you to believe something like this would happen," he said.
Joseph Zaccardi penned several children's books and sold them on Amazon, according to his Facebook page, NBC News reported. He announced that he had published his third book, "All Mixed Up," in a Facebook post on April 17.
His wife, who worked as an office manager, commented on the post, writing: "I'm so proud of you!"
Relatives issued a statement Monday, just hours after the horrific discovery.
"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."
Neighbor Heather McNulty said she was watching television with her husband around the time of the incident.
"We heard some loud banging, like four noises," she said. "We jumped up and came downstairs and we ended up opening the door."
She looked outside, saw the door to the dumpster swinging, and thought nothing of it until she woke up hours later and learned of the investigation.
"Whatever we heard... was obviously something way more," she said.
Family friend Debbie Welling said no one saw the tragedy coming.
"Just super fun-loving. Just a normal family," she said. "It just proves that anything can happen at anytime. We're just all so devastated. There's no reason. There are no words."
Abington School Superintendent Peter Schafer sent an email to parents on Monday morning about the deaths. Counselors were made available during and after school to provide students with support.
"Their presence touched so many lives and there are no words to express the sadness we feel," Schafer said in the email.
The investigation into the deaths is ongoing by state police assigned to the district attorney's office and Abington police.