Authorities in Springfield, Mass., are searching for a motive after a man forced himself into a neighbor’s apartment, shot and killed a woman and a dog, and wounded two children before shooting himself.
The Hampden District Attorney’s Office said Victor Nieves, 34, was found dead after authorities were called to a multi-family home on Berkshire Avenue Monday afternoon for a report of a shooting.
Nieves was found along with the bodies of a female victim and a dog on the first floor at the home around 2:40 p.m., where police also found three children in a bedroom, two of whom had gunshot wounds.
“The three children are ages 12, 10, and 5,” the DA’s office stated in a news release, adding that all three were siblings. “The 10 year-old girl was shot and ultimately air-lifted to Boston Children’s Hospital, where she remains in critical condition. The 12 year-old girl was shot and remains at Baystate Medical Center in stable condition.”
As of Tuesday morning, authorities had determined Nieves had forcibly entered the apartment and began shooting at the occupants before turning the gun on himself. Police believe the shooter lived in an apartment above the scene.
Officials also identified the woman killed as Kim Fairbanks, 52, who was the grandmother of the three children.
“I remain deeply saddened by this tragic attack and I am profoundly sorry for these children and their family members,” Hampden District Attorney Anthony Gulluni stated. “This is unequivocally one on the most heinous and cowardly acts to which I’ve had to bear witness as District Attorney. My heart goes out to the parents of these children and the family and loved ones of Ms. Fairbanks. As investigators, we will do everything we can to support this family as we move forward and close the criminal investigation.”
In a statement, Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl C. Clapprood said that in her over 40 years at the Springfield Police Department, Monday’s shooting was “one of the most heart-wrenching incidents I can remember.”
“I am extremely proud of my officers who were the first responders that were able to get these children to Baystate as rapidly as they did,” Clapprood stated. “We are holding a debriefing for those officers and will provide any support that we can because most officers won’t have to encounter a scene like that in their entire career.”
An investigation involving the Springfield Police Homicide Unit and the Hampden District Attorney’s Murder Unit remains ongoing.
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