Thursday, August 2, 2012

Salem, NH: AG: Three identified in Salem 'murder-suicide'

SALEM - A press release from the Attorney General's Office Wednesday afternoon indicated that a Salem man shot and killed his wife Tuesday as well as his mother and then took his own life.

Autopsies were conducted Wednesday on Jeffrey Kaznecki, 50, his wife Barbara Kaznecki, 51, and Mr. Kaznecki's mother, Shirley Leary, 85. The cause of Mrs. Kaznecki's and Ms. Leary's deaths were determined to be gunshot wounds to the head, and the manner of their deaths has been classified as homicides.

The release indicated the cause of Mr. Kaznecki's death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of his death was classified as a suicide.

Attorney General Michael A. Delaney, New Hampshire State Police
Col. Robert Quinn, and Salem Police Chief Paul Donovan made the announcement after the autopsies.

Earlier stories follow:

SALEM — Two women and a man were killed in an apparent murder-suicide on Wheeler Avenue on Tuesday afternoon.

All three victims were killed by apparent gunshot wounds, according to a press release from the Attorney General's Office.

“The community at large and residents of Salem are safe. There is no immediate danger,” said Deputy Chief Shawn Patten of the Salem Police Department.

Police were called to the home shortly after noon after a passer-by noticed a man in the driveway of 33 Wheeler Ave.

“We responded to a man being down and determined he was deceased,” Patten said. A firearm was found nearby, Patten said. “We immediately followed up with a search to the home and found two individuals — both females — inside the home.”

One woman was transported to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen, Mass., where she was pronounced dead. The other woman was pronounced dead at the scene. A dog was also shot dead at the house, according to police.

Assistant Attorney General Peter Hinckley would not say if police have determined who the shooter was. Few details are being released because the investigation is still in the early stages, Hinckley said.

Police withheld names pending notification of all family members.

Town property records list the owners of the house as Shirley Leary and Susan Kaznecki, et al. Neighbors knew the residents of the house as Jeffrey and Barbara, a couple in their early 50s, and an older woman believed to be Jeffrey or Barbara's mother. A teenage daughter was also occasionally seen at the residence.

According to the White Pages, the home's inhabitants included Jeffrey P. Kaznecki, Barbara J. Kaznecki and Susan Kaznecki. Investigators went door-to-door looking for potential witnesses. Residents were shocked to learn what had happened.

Mark Strugnell, 52, lives in 27 Wheeler Ave., near the residence where the incident took place. Strugnell was called at work and came home to get his daughter Melissa, 16.

“It's nerve-wracking to say the least,” Strugnell said.

Police told him the incident was a domestic situation and his family was not in danger, Strugnell said, but he was relieved to come home and know that his family was safe.

He did not know his neighbor well, but said his name was Jeff. He described him as a nice man who was very quiet.

Neighbors said the family kept to themselves and were occasionally seen doing yard work.

Susan Abbott, 53, of 9 Wheeler Ave., moved to the neighborhood about eight years ago and said she loves it because the neighborhood is quiet and the people are friendly.

“Everybody watches out for everybody else,” Abbott said. “It's sad to me that something like this could happen.”

Michelle Flett, of 23 Wheeler Ave., came home to find police tape across the roadway. She's lived in the area about six months and was surprised to hear about the incident. She wasn't aware of any previous disturbances.

“It's so quiet. You never really hear anything,” Flett said.

Investigators said they will have more information after autopsies are completed.

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