A house fire in which four family members were killed has been determined to be a murder-suicide.
According to WAVE News, a mother and two children were shot and killed before their residence in Louisville, Kentucky, was set on fire. More than 30 firefighters from various departments were called to the scene. They found the bodies of 33-year-old Brad Hettinger, 32-year-old Billie Hettinger, 5-year-old Collin Hettinger, and 4-year-old Courtney Hettinger.
The father, a U.S. Army veteran, is believed to have set the house on fire. Investigators were immediately concerned about the origins of the flames, as they noticed the house was lit floor by floor.
"When we have multiple fires on multiple floors, we can pretty much figure it's going to be an arson investigation," said Jeffersontown Fire Chief Sean Dreisbach
It was determined that Brad died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and the entire family suffered gunshot wounds to the head. The father was found on the first floor of the house, and is believed to have shot himself after setting small fires throughout the home. Both children were discovered in their beds on the second floor of the residence. Billie was found in the basement with a gunshot wound through her chest.
The family attended St. Michael Catholic Church and went to the Palm Sunday Mass the day of the murder-suicide.
"It's a difficult time for all of us," said Reverend Richard Sullivan, as reported by Kentucky New Era.
"Archdiocesan counselors are working with the school counselor to assist teachers and students, and parents have been encouraged to talk with their children about this," stated the Archdiocese of Louisville. "We ask all to join us in prayers for the Hettinger and Gayheart families and for the repose of the souls of Brad, Billie, Colin, and Courtney."
Billie was employed by Baptist Health, which also released a statement following the mother’s death. "We extend our heartfelt sympathies to co-workers, family and friends after this tragic loss," the organization said. "Billie Hettinger touched many lives with her kind and caring demeanor, and she will be greatly missed by her Baptist Health Family."
Neighbors are shocked that such an incident occurred so close to home, especially since the family was well-liked in the community.
"A lot of people that live near them that thought a lot of them and everybody's just in shock and very sad," said neighbor Melissa Halfhill.