A forty-two-year-old man in the western United States killed his five children, his wife, and his mother-in-law with a firearm and then committed suicide, two weeks after his wife filed for divorce, according to local authorities announced Thursday.
Initial investigations showed that “the suspect committed suicide after killing seven other people in the house,” according to a statement from the municipality of Enoch City, Utah, where the tragedy occurred.
Police found the eight bodies on Wednesday afternoon, all bearing signs of “gunshot wounds,” according to the statement.
Five of the bodies belonged to his sons, who ranged between the ages of 4 and 17. Suspect Michael Height also killed his wife of 40 and mother-in-law of 78, before shooting himself.
The mayor of Enoch, Jeffrey Chesnutt, who is the family’s neighbour, said in a press conference that the mother, Tosha Height, filed for “divorce (…) on December 21,” last.
The White House said Thursday that President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, grieve “with the people of Enoch City.”
“Too many Americans have lost loved ones or had their lives turned upside down because of gun violence,” White House spokeswoman Karen Jean-Pierre added in a statement.
The “Fan Violence Archive” website indicated that the United States witnessed 648 mass murders (meaning the number of victims, including four dead or injured, or more) in 2022, while 11 crimes of this kind were recorded in the first five days of the year.