5 Things to Know: American Red Cross Director Who Killed His Girlfriend and Baby in Murder-Suicide
Officials say John Lunetta killed his girlfriend, their young son and his dog before turning the gun on himself
A Las Vegas neighborhood is reeling after police found a man, his girlfriend, their 11-month old baby and a pet dog dead in the family’s home on Monday.
John Lunetta, 40, Karen Jackson, 34, their young son John Jr. and John’s pet dog were found with gunshot wounds in the man’s Numaga Road home at around 8 p.m.
Here are five things to know about the headline-making case:
1. The Killings are Believed to be a Double Murder-Suicide
In a police statement obtained by PEOPLE, authorities said they believe Lunetta killed Jackson and John Jr. before turning the gun on himself.
“This is deranged,” neighbor Denise Bernardo told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “He must have snapped.”
Cops went to the home after receiving a report of a deceased person.
Officials said the investigation quickly indicated that Lunetta and Jackson lived together at the home and that they were parents to the deceased child.
Police told the Review-Journal that the bodies had been in the home for at least a day before they were discovered.
2. Police Had Previously Been Called to the Couple’s Home for a Custodial Dispute
Police reportedly told KSNV that they had recently been to the home for a custodial dispute, but not a physical one.
Rumors about the couple’s relationship began to swirl in the wake of the slayings. Neighbors told the Review-Journal that they had heard about Lunetta’s alleged controlling ways.
Residents said they believed the couple argued a lot and even recently saw a moving truck in front of the home, prompting them to wonder whether Jackson was moving out.
Jackson, who reportedly moved in with Lunetta about a year and a half ago, wrote in a July 5 Facebook post that she had recently passed a certification test to become a family nurse practitioner.
She reportedly has a 10-year-old daughter who was not at the home during the shooting. Neighbors reportedly said Jackson was a veteran of the Air Force.
3. The Baby Was Just Days Away from Turning 1 Year Old
Neighbors of the family told the Review-Journal that John Jr. would have turned 1 on Wednesday.
“The first thing I asked the cop was, ‘How’s the baby?’ ” one neighbor, Christy, told the publication. “He just looked at me … it’s so sad.”
Lunetta’s Facebook page portrays the man as a doting father to the little boy. He uploaded photos as the baby approached 7 and 9 months old. Lunetta’s profile picture even appears to show him tossing the smiling little boy in the air.
4. Lunetta Worked with the American Red Cross
The father worked as a medical director with the nonprofit organization, a Red Cross spokesperson confirmed to PEOPLE.
“We are all shocked and saddened by this terrible tragedy,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “Our hearts go out to everyone touched by it.”
Lunetta’s LinkedIn account indicates that he had begun working with the organization in 2012.
5. Local Residents Have Paid Tribute to the Family with a Memorial
In the hours after the discovery, residents have taken to the family’s home to leave flowers and stuffed animals in front of the residence, KSNV reports.
Neighbor Aaron Alagic said he is “shocked” that such a situation occurred in the quiet, southwest valley neighborhood.
Sylvia Rico echoed Alagic’s statements as she arrived at the home to pay her respects.
“I don’t understand the rage of the individual,” Rico told the station. “It’s unfortunate what triggered it. Was it the barking? Was it the crying? What triggered it? We don’t know why he did this.”