Pennsylvania Father Named as Gunman in Family’s Murder-Suicide, Officials Say
Pennsylvania officials have revealed who was responsible for the murder of a family of five who were found dead in their Sinking Springs home earlier this month.
The Berks County District Attorney said Monday that Mark Short, 40, shot and killed his wife, Megan, 33, and then shot his three children—8-year-old Lianna, 5-year-old Mark Jr., and 2-year-old Willow. He then shot and killed himself.
Mark Short died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, a coroner said, CBS News reported.
A day before the murder-suicide, he took his children to a theme park run by Hershey’s Chocolate company, Hershey Park, the report said.
Officials added that the couple were having “domestic issues.”
According to a report from Philly.com, Mark Short had purchased a firearm weeks before the shooting. His marriage was collapsing and he was having trouble at work, the report stated.
On the day of the shooting, Short gathered his family in the living room and then shot them all with the .38-caliber handgun he had purchased, the report said. He also killed the family dog. After that, he wrote a suicide note and killed himself.
“This was a very, very unfortunate incident,” Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams said at a news conference, according to Philly.com. “I don’t know that anything can be learned other than, when leaving an abusive relationship, it’s often a very dangerous time for a victim.”
Police said there were no records of abuse or any domestic disturbances at the Short household, other than a 911 call phoned in by Megan Short weeks before the shooting. Megan had told the 911 dispatcher that she was afraid of her husband.
Investigators said Short was the perpetrator after an autopsy him was conducted, his fingerprint was found on a live bullet round, and the suicide note’s handwriting matched his. It’s not yet clear if there were drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of the killing.
Following the murder-suicide, news reports said Willow, 2, had survived a heart transplant at birth and her mother posted regularly on social media about the family’s struggles with the girl’s health, Inside Edition reported.
“I have been super emotional over everything the past couple days. Just when I get used to her getting a little bit of normal childhood, I am reminded of all that she has to endure throughout her life,” wrote Megan Short. “I have wondered if she would grow up to resent the fact that we chose this for her. Thankfully, she is a happy, happy girl who truly loves life. It’s like she just knows life is precious. I am not looking forward to the day that she starts asking questions about it all and realizes she is different. Soaking in every single minute of her joy.”
On Friday, a funeral was held for the family.