Authorities in Utah were trying to determine Sunday why a teenage boy fatally shot a woman and three children in their home, leaving a small community overwhelmed by shock and grief.
An adult male was wounded in the rampage Friday night, Grantsville police said. The suspected shooter was arrested at a local hospital after he accompanied the wounded man there, police said. The wounded man was expected to survive, police said.
All the victims were related, Grantsville Police Cpl. Rhonda Fields said, adding that investigators were sorting out the relationships between all those involved. The teen faces aggravated homicide and other charges, she said.
“As for motive, we don’t have any of that,” Fields said.
Gov. Gary Herbert said state law enforcement officials were aiding local police in the investigation. Utahns were mourning the loss of innocent lives, he said.
“Parents and grandparents, secure your firearms!” Herbert said in a statement. “Everyone, hug your loved ones tight. And remember love, not hate, will heal broken individuals and families.”
Grantsville is a city of 10,000 about 30 miles west of Salt Lake City. Mayor Brent Marshall’s job usually involves promoting the Children’s Sociable and warning residents not to leave cars in the park during snowstorms.
This weekend Marshall was speaking for a community in mourning.
“It’s a tragic event anytime something of this nature happens. It affects the community; it doesn’t matter if it’s a small city or a big city,” Marshall told The Salt Lake Tribune. “People know each other, and that has an emotional effect on everybody.”
Neighbor Laurie Bahe said she knew the family for 10 years, describing them as happy and outgoing.
“I pray for the family that it happened to and the people that survived that are going to have a really difficult time with it,” Bahe told ksl.com. “They were a really, really nice family. It’s just shocking that it happened.”
Patty Deakin-Daley, administrator of the community Facebook page Tooele County 411, started an online fundraising effort that names the family. It says that the mother and her three minor children were killed, her husband wounded.
More than $31,000 had been collected Sunday.
“The family now has to pay the very expensive funeral and medical expenses related to this tragedy,” Deakin-Daley said in the post. “There will be many expenses that will come up including having the home cleaned, repaired and made to feel like a home again.”
The Tooele School District said its crisis team would provide counseling services to students when school reopens on Tuesday after the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
“We are deeply saddened and shocked to hear of the events that occurred,” the district said in a statement. “We want to express our sincere condolences to those who have been impacted by this tragic situation. It is important that we stand together to care for and support each other through this difficult time.”