A Virginia man is believed to have killed his wife and two sons in a murder-suicide at their home in Virginia, police said today. The bodies of Albert and Kathleen Peterson and their sons were found Tuesday morning by police performing a welfare check on the family after one of the adults did not show up to work for two days.
Today, Fairfax County police said that the investigation is now pointing toward Albert Peterson, 57, as the killer. All four members of the Peterson family received gun shot wounds to their upper bodies, according to a statement released by the police.
“The preliminary investigation indicates that Albert Peterson killed his wife and their children before taking his own life,” the Fairfax County police said in a statement.
Kathleen Peterson, 52, worked for defense contracting firm Blackbird Technologies in Herndon, Va., where the couple lived. Albert Peterson had worked for Northtrop Grumman until he resigned in 2009. It is not clear where he was working at the time of the incident.
The couple had two children: Matthew, 16, a high school sophomore, and Christhoper, 13, who was in eighth grade.
Neighbor Jeremy Wilcox told local news radio station WTOP that the family had attended a community picnic together on Sunday and “showed no signs of any problem.”
Another neighbor, Alvaro Lopes, told local news station WNEW that Albert Peterson had tried to commit suicide in the past, and that he had been taking new heart attack medication that seemed to affect his personality.
“He seemed dizzy, just different,” Lopes said. “Hearing about what happened today made me think that could have something to do with it.”
Police would not comment on any possible connection between the deaths and Peterson’s medication. “They were good people,” said Lopes. Neighbor Jim Steele told ABC News station WJLA that the Peterson were a nice family in the neighborhood.
“This is a horrible tragedy,” Steele said. “They seemed like a very nice family. Didn’t see anything amiss around the house. It’s quite a shock.”
Blackbird Technologies released a statement confirming that Kathie worked for the company and expressing their shock. The company works with the federal government on intelligence and defense issues, according to The Washington Post.