Police: Man killed wife, children, self

November 4, 2009 8:15:15 PM PST
Police confirmed Tuesday that the shooting deaths of four family members are the result of a murder-suicide. Fayetteville police said when they arrived at a home on West Park Drive - which is in the Haymont area near downtown Fayetteville - around 8:30 p.m. Monday, they saw a woman dead inside the residence. Upon entering the home, they discovered an adult male and a teenage male. After further investigation of the home, the officers found a fourth victim -- a teenage female.

The victims are identified as local businessman William Maxwell, Jr., his wife, Kathryn and the couple's children - a 17-year-old daughter, Conner, and a 15-year-old son, Cameron.

Investigators said all of the victims died from gunshot wounds. Police also confirmed William Maxwell shot his family and then turned the gun on himself.

Police wouldn't confirm a possible reason for the killings, but sources close to the investigation tell ABC 11 that there was word William Maxwell, Jr. faced financial struggles and possibly mental issues.

The sources said Maxwell confiscated his children's cell phones last week claiming someone was tracking them. On Sunday, he shot out a window of the family home while screaming someone was trying to get them.

The family was able to calm him down and convinced him to get psychiatric help. He said he would.

Monday, after going to coach basketball practice at Village Christian Academy, the sources said Maxwell came home and called a family meeting before wrestling his son Cameron to the floor and shooting him with a handgun. Maxwell's wife and daughter tried to run, but he next caught and shot wife Kathryn. Maxwell's 17-year-old daughter Conner tried to hide in the attic and made a 911 call, but Maxwell caught and shot her too before killing himself.

Word of the killings has deeply shocked the community.

"It's heart breaking," said family Adam Tyndall. "You just never would have thought that anything like this could have ever happen to a family this. This is just like the role model family. Everybody loved them. They were like... you couldn't help but smile when you were around this family."

Ethan Rogers, another family friend, said he had heard of Maxwell's financial problems.

"I know that there's a financial situation - that he was pressed about, about his business or something going under - but... It's still a shock that this happened," he said.

Friends gathered for a vigil at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church Tuesday night to honor and pray for the family.

"There is not a person here tonight who is not hurting," Pastor Dr. John Cook said. "There is not a person here tonight who wouldn't do anything to help the family kin their loss."

Earlier Tuesday, Village Christian, where Maxwell coached and his children attended, issued the following statement:

Today Village Christian Academy is a family in grief because we have lost a great family that was a dynamic part of our community. Billy Maxwell was an inspiration to our young people as one of our basketball coaches and encourager to young people wherever he went. Connor was a smiling vivacious cheerleader who was deeply loved by everyone. Cameron was a wonderful student and athlete whose winning spirit touched many lives. Kathryn was always there as a loving supporting Mom to her family. We grieve deeply their loss. We are grateful for their sacrificial involvement here and will miss them as dear friends, neighbors, and as a vital part of our Christian family.

A funeral for the entire family will take place Friday at the Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

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