Skip Dickstein/The Albany Times Union/AP

Police say Israel Roman moved his eldest son's possessions to safety before starting Tuesday's fire

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February 11, 2016 03:35 PM

Authorities believe a 44-year-old police officer fatally shot his wife and 10-year-old son on Tuesday before setting the family’s home on fire and committing suicide, PEOPLE confirms.

Investigators tell PEOPLE that Israel Roman, a 12-year veteran of Colonie, New York’s police force, died Tuesday night from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Neighbors had called 911 after noticing a fire was quickly consuming the Romans’ home. After the blaze was extinguished, investigators discovered the bodies of the officer, his 44-year-old wife, Deborah, and their youngest son.

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According to police, Roman shot his wife – a schoolteacher – and son to death before wrapping their remains in blankets. Detectives believe Roman next doused the home’s interior with gasoline and set the fire.

As the fire raged, Roman killed himself, police officials say. All three bodies were found on the couple’s bed, according to investigators.

The Romans’ 15-year-old son was attending a school function at the time of the incident.

Before setting the fire, Roman moved most of his eldest son’s belongings into the family car, which he then parked far away from the home, police say.

Police would not speculate Thursday on a possible motive, but they say their investigation continues.

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