An Air Force airman fatally shot wife and children before calling 911 to report their deaths. Then, authorities say, he turned the gun on himself.
When authorities arrived at the family’s home outside Spanaway, Washington, they found the bodies of 29-year-old Clinton Field, 33-year-old Samantha Field, 4-year-old Ava Field and 2-year-old Ashen Field.
Here are four things to know about the tragedy.
1. Clinton Field Called 911 and Said He Was Going to Kill Himself
In a press conference, Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said that Field called 911 after his family was dead, and said that he was going to shoot himself before officers arrived.
“He thanked us for our time, but said by the time we got there he would be deceased as well, and he followed through with that,” Troyer told reporters.
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Officers quickly arrived on the scene — the first ones drove up to the home within 5 minutes of the phone call. When they arrived, SWAT team negotiators tried to talk Field out of the house, but they received no response.
2. Samantha, Ava and Ashen Were Found Shot in Their Beds
When authorities eventually entered the house, they found a macabre scene. Samantha and the two children were all in their beds, dead from gunshot wounds.
A police spokesperson could not answer whether any of the victims were awake when they were shot or if Field had killed them in their sleep.
Field was found in another part of the house, also dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Police say that Field shot himself in the head.
3. The Couple May Have Been Considering Divorce
According to Troyer, the couple may have been considering a divorce.
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The couple’s marriage had started to deteriorate after they moved across the country from New Hampshire to Washington, and Field had even temporarily moved out earlier this year. Police do not know if the couple was seeking counseling for their marital problems. No divorce papers had been filed at the time of the murder-suicide
4. Clinton Field Had Previously Had Suicidal Thoughts
Troyer told reporters that this was not the first time that Field considered killing himself.
“We have obtained a little bit of information that he was upset and that he had a past incident that mentioned suicide, so he may have been being treated for that,” Troyer told reporters, according to KIRO-TV. There had been no previous 911 calls at that address, and Troyer could not give any details about the treatment that Field had allegedly received.
Field was a member of the Air Force who was stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. The family previously lived in New Hampshire, and Field had once lived in Florida. They had bought the family home after he returned from a deployment in Korea last year.