A Virginia man allegedly killed himself and his family earlier this week in part because he was upset by the thought of President Barack Obama being re-elected.
“He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away,” a family friend identified as “Maggie L.” told The Daily Mail. “He didn’t like where the country was going.”
The friend said Albert Peterson, a defense contractor, had a history of paranoia and was also affected by a favorite uncle’s recent suicide. On Wednesday, The Washington Post reported that Peterson, his wife Kathleen and their two sons, Matthew and Christopher, were found dead in their home.
According to The Mail, authorities believe Peterson shot his wife and the children before turning the gun on himself. Maggie told the newspaper that his family had a history of mental illness; his father killed himself when Peterson was young, and the death of his mother five years ago, she said, nearly drove him to suicide before Kathleen saved him.
But more recently, Maggie said, Peterson was behaving erratically, sending paranoid political emails daily to family and friends.
“They were very well off people and they saved a lot of money,” she said about the Petersons. “He couldn’t understand how the government could be so irresponsible and he thought it would be on the backs of his boys.”
WJLA-TV reported on Wednesday that friends of the family and classmates of Matthew and Christopher held a vigil to support each other.
“It doesn’t really hit you until you get to school to know that you’re never going to see them at school anymore, or anytime,” said a family friend, Jazmine Mitchell.
WJLA’s report from the vigil for the Peterson family, aired Wednesday night, can be seen below. Anyone thinking of taking their life is advised to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.