Ohio Father Who Police Say Shot Family, Himself Recently Unemployed but Got Job Back

An Ohio father and car dealership worker who police say shot his wife, two small children and himself in an apparent murder-suicide was recently unemployed but had gotten his old job back.

Mark Meeks, 51, left a suicide note, but authorities wouldn't disclose its contents. A gun was discovered at the scene. It wasn't immediately clear what the motive for the killings was.

Police downplayed Meeks' job history as a factor in the shootings.

"We are not investigating this as a financial or unemployment-related crime," Whitehall police Sgt. Daniel Kelso said.

Authorities identified the other victims as Meeks' wife, Jennifer Dallas-Meeks, 40; and their children, Abbigail, 8, and Jimmy, 5.

"They were your typical all-American family," Mark Meeks' brother Mike told FOXNews.com. "They seemed to be very close, loved the kids, literally worshipped the ground they walked on. There was no indication of this in our minds. What more can you say other than they were just both great people and the kids were fantastic."

Autopsies were being performed Thursday on the victims. All the family members had gunshot wounds, Kelso said.

Meeks worked the night shift as a service adviser for Immke Northwest Honda in Dublin, helping customers decide what kind of repair work their vehicles need.

He had been laid off while the dealership tried to adjust to a tough economy but had been back on the job for three weeks, service manager Gary Kennedy said.

"We're just as shocked as everybody else," Kennedy said. "We loved him, and he did a hell of a job."

Authorities refused to reveal exactly where in the single-story house the couple and their two children were found. The children were home from school for a snow day.

Kennedy said there was no indication that Meeks was despondent.

"He was just a great guy and seemed glad to be back," he told The Columbus Dispatch. "We are all just as ... saddened as can be."

Meeks' wife was a stay-at-home mom, according to the paper.

Meeks previously worked at Coughlin Chevrolet in Pataskala, said general manager John Riley. Meeks left last year on good terms, he said.

Riley said Meeks and his wife spent a lot of time together walking along park trails.

"I just saw him three months ago out on the running trail, out with his wife walking, and I stopped and talked to him and asked him how he was doing and it seemed like everything was going well," Riley said.

Kelso said a relative called police shortly before 2 p.m. Wednesday and asked officers to check on the family at their Whitehall, Ohio, home. He declined to say why the relative made the request.

Police discovered the four bodies when they arrived.

"It has the markings of a murder-suicide," Kelso told the Dispatch, without elaborating. "This is not a high-crime area."

Jennifer Dallas-Meeks' father said he was having trouble understanding why the tragedy occurred.

"They were a loving family," Jim Dallas told the paper. "They were just wonderful people. Why this happened, I have no idea. I'm really pretty broken right now."

Neighbor Stephanie Grunkemeyer, 37, told the newspaper that she saw Mark Meeks shoveling his snow-covered driveway around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

"They were really good people," she said. "The kids were just the cutest. They'd come play in our yard — they always wanted to play — and we'd color the same coloring book a million times."

The family's deaths came a day after police in Wilmington, Calif., found the bodies of a couple and their five children in their home. The parents had recently been fired from their jobs at a local hospital; police say the father killed his family and himself after planning the murder-suicide with his wife.

Click here read more on this story from The Columbus Dispatch.

FOXNews.com's Michelle Maskaly and The Associated Press contributed to this report.