MURPHYS (CBS13/AP) – Relatives and friends were stunned by a violent crime in Calaveras County Saturday.
Investigators say a father shot and killed his two teenage children and the family dog before turning the gun on himself.
A spokesman for the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department says when friends of the two teens went to the family home on Sandalwood Drive Saturday and looked through the windows, they could see 54-year-old Phillip Marshall lying on the floor in a pool of blood.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Chris Hewitt says when deputies arrived around 3 p.m. Saturday, they found the victims dead of apparent gunshot wounds.
“They were great kids,” said one friend.
It only adds to the questions and confusion after a brother and a sister were gunned down by their own father, investigators say.
Deputies say 14-year-old Micaila Phillips and her 17-year-old brother Alex were shot and killed in their home, inside the gated Forrest Meadows community in the tiny town of Murphys.
Investigators believe their own father shot them, and then turned the gun on himself.
The tragedy came as a shock for those living in the small town.
“Murphys is a quiet town, and we don’t have any of that stuff going on here,” said one resident.
“Alex is a junior, played football; Micaela was a bright bubbly freshman,” said Michael Chimente.
Chimente is the principal of Bret Harte High School in nearby Angels Camp, where the two teens attended.
“Our first concern is not only reaching out to the family and giving them the support they need, but also supporting our students,” said Chimente.
Administrators were working late Sunday evening to call in grief counselors, and plan for a tough week ahead. Everyone is trying to make sense of how two young lives could be cut short by the person who’s supposed to protect them.
“It’s just something we need, now, to work through together,” said Chimente.
Along with assisting their students, administrators also say they plan on helping to organize a memorial as early as this week.
A preliminary examination showed that all three were shot once in the head with a handgun. Hewitt says the mother of the teens and estranged wife of Phillip Marshall, was out of the country at the time.
(The Associated Press contributed to this story.)