FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – North Carolina police say a real estate developer known as an active member of his church shot and killed his wife and two teen children and then committed suicide in their Fayetteville home.
Authorities did not hint at a motive into the slayings by William Maxwell in an upscale neighborhood of the city Monday night.
Police said Tuesday that 47-year-old Maxwell killed his wife, Kathryn, and their children, 17-year-old Connor and 15-year-old Cameron, before turning a gun on himself.
Friends and neighbors say the Maxwells were a friendly family who kept a meticulous yard and were active in their church and their children's religious high school.
"They were just wonderful people, active in their church," said neighbor Kay Edwards, who has lived next door since 1994, when she moved back into the home where she grew up and where her 94-year-old mother still lives. "They were just good neighbors."
Edwards said she would often see family members walking their small dog through the quiet, leafy neighborhood.
"We're just all in shock," she said Tuesday. "You could not image this happening."
William Maxwell was a builder and land developer who built residential subdivisions in Cumberland and Harnett counties, said John McKinney of Fayetteville, who described himself as Maxwell's business partner and friend for more than a decade.
"He was a devout Christian and I really loved his family," McKinney said. William Maxwell also owned a couple of local car washes, while his wife Kathryn was a stay-at-home mother who taught Sunday school at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church in Fayetteville.
Son Cameron Maxwell attended 9th grade at Village Christian Academy in Fayetteville and his sister Conner was a senior. The school is affiliated with Village Baptist Church. "We're obviously very saddened by this tragic event and we're really concentrating right now on just meeting the needs of the students and staff at the school," said Lou Nelon, the church administrator. "Those kids were very well loved and respected. They were very well known here in town," Nelon said.
In a neighborhood with well-manicured lawns where many houses sit on hill tops, a steady stream of cars drove by the house on Tuesday, slowing for drivers to gape at the crime scene.
Evelyn Diaz, a Maxwell neighbor for about a year, said she remembered the father and son working on the meticulously-kept lawn. One woman who said her husband coached basketball at Village Christian Academy with Maxwell came Tuesday to lay a bunch of yellow daisies on the lawn.
Suzie Martell, a neighbor and a student at Fayetteville Technical Community College, came by the house to snap some pictures with her cell phone. "The family was great. The husband obviously prospered in his field," said Martell.
Fayetteville is about 50 miles southwest of Raleigh and home to the Army's sprawling Fort Bragg.