A supervised custody visit turned tragic Saturday when a Pennsylvania father fatally shot his two-year-old son, injured his estranged wife and then killed himself.
The 52-year-old man went to his mother’s rural home near Petersburg, Pa., to visit his son, Michael. When his estranged wife, Hollie Jo Ayers, arrived with the toddler, the couple began to fight. Ayers shot her in the legs, right arm and the face and then killed his son, the Lewiston Sentinel reports.
Ayers also shot at his mother with the .40 caliber handgun, but missed. "Words can't describe the scene ... heartbreaking," Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic told the Altoona Mirror.
After killing his son, Ayers put the boy’s body in the back of his car. At that point, Hollie Jo Ayers, who was injured, pulled the toddler’s body from the car when Ayers shot her in the face, according to the newspaper.
Police say Ayers returned to his home after the assault and changed cars. Police found his body in a wooded area, where he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Altoona Mirror reports.
Hollie Jo Ayers remains in the hospital and is expected to survive, according to the news outlet.
Based on evidence police found in Ayers’ home, the deadly assault may have been planned, the Altoona Mirror reports. Ayers didn't leave a suicide note, but his behavior during the week leads authorities to believe the assault was premeditated, Zanic said.
Ayers was under a protection from abuse order from his wife, but he was allowed supervised visits with his son, the Associated Press reports. Police say an autopsy will be performed on Ayers’ body to see if he was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.