A father killed his two-year-old son and then himself during a custody exchange in Pennsylvania this weekend.
According to the Lewistown Sentinel, Kenneth Ayers shot his estranged wife multiple times, killed his two-year-old son Michael, and then took his own life. The woman, Hollie Ayers, is expected to survive.
Police said that the tragic incident happened during a routine custody exchange. Hollie Ayers and Michael went to meet Kenneth at his mother’s house in Huntingdon County for a supervised visit. Kenneth and Hollie started arguing and eventually Kenneth pulled out his gun and started shooting.
Ayers killed his son and injured his wife. He also reportedly fired shots at his mother before fleeing the scene in his truck. Officers found him dead in the truck several hours later.
The Altoona Mirror says that Ayers used a .40 caliber handgun. He shot Hollie once in each leg and then again in her right arm. Ayers then loaded the boys body into his car. When Hollie tried to stop him from leaving he shot her again in the face then fired several shots at his mother.
Hollie and her mother-in-law, Mary Olive, were both able to give statements to police. Hollie and Mary said that the boy was killed intentionally by Kenneth and not by stray bullets.
Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic said: “Words can’t describe the scene … heartbreaking.”
Zanic said that Kenneth was under a protection-from-abuse order that forbid him from making contact with his wife. The 56-year-old man was still allowed to have supervised visits with his son once a week at his mother’s house.
Police are currently investigating to see what sparked the rampage. An autopsy will also be conducted to see if Ayers was using any drugs or alcohol at the time of the shooting.
Sadly, this isn’t the first murder suicide involving a child this year. A woman in Connecticut killed her two young grandsons before taking her own life last February.