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HomeBreaking NewsUtah murder-suicide underscores frequency of family killings

Utah murder-suicide underscores frequency of family killings

'Quick read' news summary

ENOCH, Utah — City leaders in a small Utah town choked up this week as they expressed shock after a murder-suicide carried out by a fellow church member left eight people dead in their close-knit community, including five children who were classmates with their kids.

Though shocking, family mass killings are an all-too-common tragedy across the country. They’ve happened nearly every 3.5 weeks for the last two decades on average, according to a database compiled by USA Today, The Associated Press and Northeastern University.

Enoch, Utah, is one of more than 30 communities sent reeling by a family mass killing in the last two years, a list that includes communities of wealth and poverty and spares no race or class. A family mass killing — where four or more people were killed, not including the perpetrator — happened each of the last two years in places as large as Houston or as small as Casa Grande, Arizona, the database shows.

The circumstances of the killings are myriad: An argument over pandemic stimulus checks leaves four family members shot dead and two injured in Indianapolis; financial issues lead to authorities finding six children and their parents inside a house set ablaze in Oklahoma; an escalating custody battle in Ohio precedes a man and members of his family shooting the mother of his child and seven of her family members; a father loses his job, piles his wife and kids in the family station wagon and plunges it into the Detroit River.

Motives can remain

ENOCH, Utah -- City leaders in a small Utah town choked up this week as they expressed shock after a murder-suicide carried out by a fellow church member left eight people dead in their close-knit community, including five children who were classmates with their kids. Though shocking, family mass killings are an all-too-common tragedy across the country. Enoch, Utah, is one of more than 30 communities sent reeling by a family mass killing in the last two years, a list that includes communities of wealth and poverty and spares no race or class.

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