Two adults and three children were found shot to death inside their Culpeper, Virginia, home on the evening of August 3 as a result of an apparent murder-suicide. The Daily News reported that the father of the family, Clarence Washington, 35, was the gunman.
Before turning the gun on himself, Washington allegedly shot and killed his wife, Shauna Washington, 35, and the couple’s three young daughters - four-year-old Olivia, six-year-old Onya and 13-year-old Omesha. All of the Washington family members were found dead in their bedrooms, according to Fox News.
The parents were reportedly involved in an ongoing domestic dispute which is believed to have led to the violent and tragic outcome discovered by deputies with the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office after arriving at the home Sunday night around 10 p.m. Two relatives checking in on the Washingtons found the bodies inside the home Sunday night and contacted authorities.
A gun was recovered at the scene. Investigators with the Virginia State Police are working with the Culpeper County Sheriff's Office in their investigation.
Culpeper ‘s Mayor, Michael Olinger, said that the murder-suicide was a “shock for the community.” Although he didn’t know the Washingtons personally, Olinger said "Very seldom do we have a murder in Culpeper or any kind of activity such as this."
The Washington’s family woes were no secret to family and friends who informed authorities that the couple had been arguing for some time. The two reportedly had a heated argument the Saturday night prior to Sunday’s murder-suicide. Local deputies report never having received any calls from the home regarding family disputes or problems of any kind.
It was Shauna’s mother and cousin who went to the Washington home, located on Rixeyville Road, to check on the family. They told investigators that they were concerned when the family missed the weekly service at St. Stephen's Baptist Church, according to NBC News in Washington. Another cousin of Shauna’s, Nicole Minor-Melvin, said that she was aware that Shauna wanted out of her marriage – “but she didn't know the woman's life was in danger.”