Investigators say a New Jersey man fatally shot his wife, MaShanda, 48, and 10-year-old son, Tre, before turning the gun on himself.
According to NJ, on the night of Monday, August 9, Ruben Johnson Jr., 50, called his brother and said, “I just killed my family. I’m about to kill myself.”
Johnson’s brother – whose name has not been released – contacted police and requested a wellness check.
When police arrived at the home around 10:15 p.m., they discovered the family dead in their Burlington Township home on Sunflower Circle in an apparent murder-suicide.
Johnson reportedly shot his wife and son to death before taking his own life.
The New Jersey couple also has a 23-year-old daughter, LoraVon, who lives in Florida, and was not in the home during the time of the murder-suicide.
When LoraVon learned her family was found dead in their home from a murder-suicide, she posted a statement via Facebook.
“Last night my world completely froze. I want everyone to tell me it’s just a bad dream. I want to be able to call my family. I lost my two best friends. I lost the biggest part of my heart. I not only lost my brother and mother but my father as well.
“I know my family is with me right now, but my heart is broken. Please send your love and prayers to me and my family.”
Burlington County police have yet to uncover a motive for the murder-suicide, but friends say the couple were having financial issues as well as a troubled marriage that MaShanda was reportedly trying to escape from.
According to Philly, a few years before the murder-suicide, MaShanda told several of her friends that “if something ever happens to me, it’s going to be her husband.”
She went on to say that her husband placed a gun on a table in their home and threatened to kill her.
Johnson, who was unemployed, lived a reclusive lifestyle after being diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes that caused him to fall into a deep depression.
Angela Smith Teal, 47, who grew up with MaShanda, stated that she “was very concerned for her and nervous” after ascertaining that Johnson had threatened to kill his wife.
Although MaShanda “encouraged him to get help, he refused.”
Neighbors and the community were stunned after learning that the father had killed his family before taking his own life, stating that the family had lived in the area for almost a decade and were a loving family.
“Tre often played basketball and rode his bike down the street with other neighborhood children,” neighbor Christian Wagner, 18, said.
“The kid was always outside, playful, happy,” Wagner added.
He went on to say that “he saw no signs of trouble with the family or the boy, whom his 11-year-old sister also knew from B. Bernice Young Elementary School.”
A memorial service was held for the slain mother and her son at Fountain of Life Center, 2035 Columbus Rd., Florence Township.
A Go Fund Me account was created “to help with the cost of putting these two angels to rest, family expenses and for LoraVon. No donation too great or too small. And if you cannot afford to give, please take the time to share this on your page, emailing to family and friends that are not on Facebook would also be a huge help,” according to the site.
“Words cannot describe the vastness of the holes left in our hearts. They were both taken far too soon and so senselessly.”
The family of the victims were hoping to raise $20,000 in donations, but have thus far amassed $16,965.
[Image via LoraVon Rene/Facebook]