Three people were found dead inside their burning Fair Lawn, New Jersey, home late Wednesday night, acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal confirmed in a press conference Thursday, ABC7 New York reports.
Richard Tempe, 76, his wife Barbara Tempe, 73, and their son Richard Tempe Jr., 53, had all been fatally shot when firefighters entered the home, which was set on fire late Wednesday after an apparent murder-suicide. A firearm was recovered from the scene.
According to NorthJersey.com, Fair Lawn Sgt. Brian Metzler said Thursday that the fire, located on 4th St., was reported to authorities by a neighbor at 11:36 p.m. The home’s roof was damaged and the top windows had been shattered by the heat.
“We did determine during the course of the investigation that the fire at the location was intentionally set,” Grewal said.
“I want to reassure residents of the Fair Lawn community and Bergen County that the matter is limited to a domestic event. We are not looking for other suspects. We are awaiting final confirmation from the medical examiner’s office as to the cause of death,” Grewal said.
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Mayor John Cosgrove told NorthJersey.com that a firefighter who responded to the 911 call was treated at a hospital and released early Thursday morning.
Fair Lawn residents were surprised by news of the violence.
“To hear something like that, it’s totally shocking because it’s a nice, very quiet group over here,” Steve Leone, who works in the area, told CBS New York. “It’s amazing anything like that would happen.”
Pam Coles, who grew up next door to the Tempe family, told NorthJersey.com that Richard Jr. kept to himself. She described the family as “quiet and neighborly.”
They were a wonderful family,” Coles said. “I’m so surprised.”