Officials have determined that Northampton, Pennsylvania resident Matthew Eberhardt, 45, gunned down his 42-year-old wife and then killed himself, confusing locals who had viewed the couple's relationship as idyllic.
The Morning Caller reported that three days before the killings, the couple had celebrated their daughter's fifth birthday in the home they had shared for eight years. They had just bought a car and were both steadily employed.
Coroner Zachary Lysek officially declared that Kristin Eberhardt died of multiple gunshot wounds. He also declared that her husband had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The two were found dead after police responded to a call about a domestic dispute at around 9:45 PM on the 300 block of West 27th Street. The sounds of gunshots had been heard nearby. One of the bodies was discovered in the front yard of the home, according to WPVI. The street was blocked off by police until around 2 AM while they investigated the situation, according to WFMZ.
The children have since been taken into the care of relatives. They were not harmed during the shooting.
“The oldest got out of the house and went over to the neighbor next door and that is where she stayed,” said Detective Glenn Deist with the Northampton Borough Police Department. The youngest child was found in a crib inside the home.
Police are investigating and are not currently offering a comment on a potential motive.
"He was a super-nice, down-to-earth guy. His wife was very nice," said neighbor Jonelle Finney.
“Our whole neighborhood gets together and we have parties,” neighbor Pat Finney added. “[Their daughter] just turned 5 this past weekend.”
This is the second murder-suicide to occur in the town in a two-week period. In late December, Justin Kephart killed his mother, Marylouise Meixell-Moyer, and then himself after an hours-long standoff with police.
The Morning Caller notes that murder-suicides are relatively rare, adding up to between 1,000 and 1,500 of the 2.6 million deaths reported in the United States each year. Most killings in the US are carried about by a man with a gun.