Society

Man Kills Wife, Their Three Kids, Himself with Shotgun

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Joel Smith reportedly killed his wife and their three children with a 12-gauge shotgun on Saturday night, and then took his own life in their Saco, Maine, apartment.

The bodies were not discovered until Sunday when a concerned family member asked the apartment complex to check on the family.

Smith’s mother, Jerys Thorpe, told the Portland Press Herald that her son had long-term depression, and recently learned that his wife was addicted to heroin and prescription medication.

“He was also a very private person. I said, ‘It doesn’t matter who knows, you need to go [to therapy],'" said Thorpe. “His mind was just gone, he had to be. He loved his children so much. He loved her so much. I think that’s what hurt him.”

According to neighbors, the family had a barbecue outside on Saturday before the gruesome deaths at 11:30 p.m.

Neighbors heard some loud bangs on Saturday night, but thought the noises were fireworks.

The Associated Press noted that police said Smith's wife told a family friend a night before the shooting that her husband recently threatened suicide by holding a gun to his head.

According to a recent report by Mother Jones, "A woman's chances of being killed by her abuser increase more than fivefold if he has access to a gun."

The Huffington Post notes that the NRA has been fighting a proposed bill by U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) that would ban stalkers and people convicted of violence against dating partners from buying or owning guns.

Sources: Portland Press Herald, Mother Jones, The Huffington Post, Associated Press (Image Credit: Artem Popov)

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