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Crime & Courts

Massachusetts father who committed suicide after killing daughter and shooting son under a lot of stress, friends say


July 28, 2012: Kelleen Benway is detained by a police officer after she returned to her home on Main Street in Oxford, Mass. where multiple shootings occurred. (AP)

A Massachusetts man who police say fatally shot his 7-year-old daughter and critically injured his 9-year-old son before killing himself was under extreme stress, according to his friends.

Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. has said that 41-year-old Daryl Benway separated from his wife just weeks before Saturday night's shootings.

Friends and neighbors tell The Boston Globe that Benway had also recently lost his job and feared foreclosure. On Facebook, Benway listed his place of employment as TJX Cos., which operates discount retailers TJ Maxx, Marshalls and HomeGoods, as well as Ross Stores Inc.

A family member called police Saturday night after finding the bodies of Benway and his daughter, Abigail, in the master bedroom of their two-story Oxford home, Early said.

Benway's son, Owen, was found shot in the head in the kitchen and was taken to UMass Memorial Children's Medical Center where he remained Sunday night.

A hospital spokeswoman said Monday that shooting victim Owen remains in pediatric intensive care in critical condition.

Benway's wife, Kelleen, returned home after the shootings, unaware of what had happened, and found a swarm of police cruisers and television crews, Early said. She was taken to the children's hospital, where authorities told her the fates of her children and husband.

No restraining orders had been filed against Benway, and he had no criminal record, the DA said. He had a gun license that expired in 1999, Early said.

On Benway's Facebook page, his profile picture posted in December showed him with his family in front of a Christmas tree. He described the woman next to him as "my beautiful wife Kelleen." Owen stood in front of him in a white dress shirt and red plaid tie, while Abigail wore a black and white dress with a black hair bow.

A vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday on Main Street in Oxford's town center, Oxford schools superintendent Allen Himmelberger said.

Schools officials are offering grief counseling to community members Monday and Tuesday at A.M. Chaffee Elementary School, where Abigail was to start second grade next month.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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