After a years-long custody battle with his wife over their 6-year-old child, police say that James Shields Jr. finally reached his limit Monday night, killing his ex-wife, his current wife, his son, and finally himself, at his home in Astoria, Queens.
According to the Washington Post, Shields had previously set up a GoFundMe campaign to help try and get his kid back.
The post, entitled “Child Kidnapping,” sought to demonize his ex and cast her as a malicious woman who took their son to the Netherlands from New York, ruined his once “perfect” life, and then made him participate in “court case after court case” in their custody struggle.
Shields requested $30,000 to help him in his fight, but received no donations. The page appears to have since been deleted.
The April GoFundMe campaign was one piece of evidence suggesting that the custody battle led directly to the grisly murder-suicide, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said a press conference.
“We have a twist in the case in that, in this custody battle, if you look at the GoFundMe, there’s some self-reported statements that his life is spiraling out of control,” he said. “Financial and custody seem to be the primary reasons behind this tragic incident at this point in time.”
Cops said that Shields legally owned two Glock handguns, and used a single bullet to kill each of his victims. One of the women was shot in the face, while the other was shot in the head. Shields, meanwhile, shot himself in the chin, causing so much carnage that authorities initially believed he slit his throat, the NY Post reported.
Shea added that Olthof, 47, and their son, James, came to New York from the Netherlands on July 21 so that Shields could spend some time with his son.
But the constant legal battles had taken a toll on Shields' second marriage, to wife Saskia, 37.
“This is very embarrassing for me to be writing in this public forum, but my back is against the wall and I have nowhere else to turn,” he wrote on his GoFundMe page. “How do I choose between financially ruining my current relationship vs giving up the battle for my son?”
Unfortunately for everybody involved, Shields chose a third, more deadly option.