A US father who shot dead his five children then killed himself had just discovered his wife was leaving him for another man, police said.
The bodies of James Harrison’s children, aged seven to 16, were found with multiple gunshot wounds on Saturday in the family’s mobile home in Graham, Washington, most of them in their beds.
Harrison’s body had been found earlier in the day with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, behind the wheel of his idling car.
The night before, the father and his eldest daughter went in search of his wife Angela. The daughter used a GPS feature in her mother’s mobile phone to find her with another man at a grocery store in nearby Auburn, said Ed Troyer, spokesman for the sheriff’s office.
The woman told her husband she was not coming home and was leaving him for the man with her at the shop. The father and the daughter left, distraught, Mr Troyer said.
Some time after the children went to sleep, Harrison shot each of them several times. Four died in their beds. The fifth was found in the bathroom, surrounded by signs of violent struggle.
“He wanted the kids dead,” Mr Troyer said. “It wasn’t like he shot a few rounds. He shot several rounds.”
Investigators believe he then returned to the area near the store looking for his wife. His body was found nearby.
“We think he was going to go back to kill the wife,” Mr Troyer said. “He probably didn’t find her and realised the gravity of what he’d done and shot himself.”
Several weapons were found in the home.