Dad's Horrifying Act Against His Own Family Ends in Father's Day Tragedy

An unbelievable crime happened on Father's Day in Utah, as a young dad allegedly shot and killed his family before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life. Russell Smith, 29, Shawna Smith, 26, and their children, 6-year-old daughter Tylee and 2-year-old son Blake, were confirmed dead on Sunday, and police suspect that it was a murder-suicide.


The family was found in their suburban home in Roy, about 30 miles north of Salt Lake City. They had apparently missed a get-together with his parents that day, and concerned family members went over to make sure everything was OK.

Those who know the family are at a loss for a motive, and everything seemed idyllic for them. Shawna's mom, Sheila Pruitt, said that there had never been any signs of violence before. She called her daughter "an amazing person, and an amazing mother," and added, "those kids were her world."

The family's next-door neighbor LaRue Simpson said, "Sweetest little family you ever saw. I can't imagine ... Something must have gone really wrong yesterday because they were not like that at all."

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Another neighbor, Lynn Everley, said they seemed like a quiet family, and he never heard any commotion coming from their home or saw them fight about anything. "They're a couple that you would never have expected this to happen," Everley said. "But then, what makes a person snap?"

Shawna was a daycare worker at Busy Bee's Playhouse, where she'd been employed for nine years, according to director Jennifer Lindstrom.

This is beyond heartbreaking. I can't imagine what could cause a person so much pain that they would take not only their own life, but their spouse's and children's lives too. My only hope is that none of them suffered in this unspeakable tragedy.

Don't wait until it's too late to get help. Please call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in case you are worried about yourself or someone else.


Image via © Paul Taylor/Corbis

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