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Mom & Three Children Killed In Horrific Shooting -- Surviving Daughter 'Devastated' & 'In Total Shock'

Mom & Three Children Killed In Horrific Shooting -- Surviving Daughter 'Devastated' & 'In Total Shock'

A small town in Michigan is mourning the tragic loss of a mother and three of her children after they were all found dead in a home there late last week.

According to the Mecosta County Sheriff’s Office, on Friday, deputies responded to reports of a man with a gun and shots being fired at a home in the small town of Mecosta Township. When they arrived, officers found a woman — later identified as 40-year-old Dawn Gillard — and three young children under the age of 10… all dead from gunshot wounds.

Related: Man Kills Wife, Daughter, And Mother-In-Law In Murder-Suicide Amid Divorce

In a statement released by the sheriff’s office on Monday, they confirmed the identities as Dawn’s three children: 6-year-old Katelynn Gillard, 4-year-old Ronald Gillard, and 3-year-old Joshua Gillard.

In the news release, Sheriff Brian Miller explained what investigators believe happened in the awful incident:

“[They were killed] presumably by their father and husband, a 51-year-old male, who then is believed to have turned the firearm on himself, leading to a gunshot wound to the head. The male’s name is being withheld until he is arrested and formally charged. In the near future, information will be limited so as to not jeopardize any future criminal proceedings, and out of respect to the family.”

The man did not die from his apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Instead, he was rushed to a local hospital and later transferred to the University of Michigan Hospital, where he remains in critical condition with significant injuries, according to the sheriff’s office.

Hailey Salisbury, identified by local media outlets as another daughter of Dawn Gillard and the half-sister of the three younger children, spoke to WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids about the horrific tragedy.

She said:

“I am in total shock. I am so devastated.”

Sheriff Miller revealed his own disbelief at the heartbreaking situation in a statement to People on Monday, as well:

“No matter how much you prepare yourself for something like this in our line of work, it never is easy. It sticks with you. Our hearts go our to the remaining family members, who have to go on with their lives not having their loved ones part of it. I am speechless, and really have no answer to why and how something like this can happen. We have a strong community, who has always been there for one another during times of need. Although heartbreaking, this tragedy is no different. We will come together, unified in purpose to make sure these kids and their mother are not forgotten, with justice being served.”

And in an additional statement published by the Associated Press, Sheriff Miller also explained how finding the family in such a state has left a lasting impression on the deputies and investigators involved:

“To have something so tragic happen in your community, it’s very heartbreaking. There are no words that can explain what happened. … With our first responders, almost everyone at the scene had children of their own. I can tell you they took it very hard.”

So sad.

A candlelight vigil took place Monday night at nearby Morley Stanwood Elementary School, where one of the children attended classes. A statement released by the school asked attending community members to “sit quietly and reflect” about the awful event and the lives lost.

We send our condolences to the family, friends, and loved ones of those lost in this unfathomable and violent act.

[Image via 13 On Your Side/YouTube]

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May 31, 2022 10:54am PDT