An Irish sheep farmer has shot his partner and adult son in their beds before turning the gun on himself in a suspected ‘murder-suicide’.
The bodies of Mossie O’Sullivan, 63, his partner Eileen, 56, and their adult son, Jaime, 24, were discovered near Lixnaw, County Kerry on Tuesday evening after concerns were raised about a door being left open at their property.
A neighbour called to the home around 8.30pm where he discovered the bodies of Eileen and Jamie in their bedrooms with fatal gunshot wounds.
Officers were alerted and in a follow-up search outside the home, police found the body of Mossie O’Sullivan, at the boundary of the rear yard, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
A firearm, which he legally held, was recovered close to his body.
The bodies of sheep farmer Mossie O’Sullivan, 63, (pictured) his partner Eileen, 56, and their adult son, Jaime, 24, were discovered at home near Lixnaw, County Kerry on Tuesday evening
Police have launched an investigation into what they believe is a double homicide and suicide, though a motive for the killings has not yet been established.
They are not looking for anyone else in connection with the deaths.
Speaking to local newspaper, The Kerryman, neighbour John O’Mahony who found the bodies of Eileen and Jaime said: ‘When I went into the house, I found them, both were in their beds. It’s a terrible thing for any neighbour to have to witness.’
He added: ‘I was only talking to him on Sunday night, you couldn’t see anything like this coming.
‘The family were the soundest crowd you could meet – we can’t believe this is after happening.’
Mossie worked part-time as a sheep farmer and as well as being a ‘passionate beekeeper’ and had previously worked as a school bus driver.
A neighbour called to the home around 8.30pm, after concerns were raised about a door being left open at their property, where he discovered the bodies of Eileen (pictured) and Jamie in their beds with fatal gunshot wounds
Son Jamie worked with agricultural contractors and recently got a job at the crane company Liebherr in Killarney.
Gardai investigating the shooting have appealed to the local community in Co Kerry for help, saying there are a lot of ‘unanswered questions’.
Superintendent Paul Kennedy said gardai were not made aware of any issues with the family.
He described them as a ‘decent family’ who were not previously known to gardai.
‘We have no knowledge of anyone in the days preceding this that would have contacted us directly,’ Superintendent Kennedy said.
‘We have a lot of unanswered questions. At the moment, we don’t have motive.
‘We are appealing for people to come forward to help determine what happened.’
He said gardai are keeping an open mind in the investigation about what happened in the lead-up to the shooting.
In a follow-up search, officers found the body of father Mossie O’Sullivan at the boundary of the rear yard, with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Pictured: Son Jamie O’Sullivan
On Wednesday, Supt Kennedy said: ‘At approximately 8.30pm yesterday, gardai in Listowel received a call from a member of the public concerned for the residents of a domestic dwelling at Kilfeighney, Lixnaw.
‘Local uniform and plain clothes gardai attended the scene.’
The scene was preserved overnight and the Garda Technical Bureau commenced a forensic examination on Wednesday afternoon.
State pathologist Dr Margot Bolster visited the scene earlier on Wednesday.
The bodies of all three people were removed from the scene to University Hospital Kerry, Tralee, where state post-mortem examinations will take place.
Gardai said the result of the post-mortems will determine the course of the investigation, but preliminary findings are that all three died as a result of the gunshot wounds.
‘An Garda Siochana is not looking for any other person in relation to this investigation at this time,’ Supt. Kennedy said.
Gardai have launched an investigation into what they believe is a double homicide and suicide, though a motive for the killings has not yet been established
‘A family liaison officer has been appointed to the extended families of the deceased and gardai will support the families during this personal tragedy for them.
‘An Garda Siochana appeals for privacy for the family at this time.
‘We are also conscious of the severe impact this incident has on the tight-knit community here in Kerry and we are appealing to this community or any other persons who may have any information in relation to the tragic events to contact gardai at Listowel Garda station on 068 50820, the Garda Confidential Number 1800 666.’
Justice Minister Heather Humphreys tweeted: ‘My deepest sympathies to all impacted by the truly awful tragedy in Lixnaw.
‘The shock and devastation being felt by the family and the community is unimaginable.
‘An Garda Siochana is engaging with the local community and will carry out a full investigation.’
Parish priest of Lixnaw, Father Anthony O’Sullivan, said the local community is ‘numb’.
He was called to the scene at the family bungalow shortly before 11pm on Tuesday night, where he administered the last rites and said a number of prayers.
‘There is a great sense of numbness and disbelief that this has happened,’ Fr O’Sullivan told Newstalk.
‘Personally I feel the same way – numb and failing to comprehend or express how I feel about what has happened.’
The bodies of all three people were removed from the scene to University Hospital Kerry, Tralee, on Wednesday (pictured) where state post-mortem examinations will take place
He added: ‘I am here nearly two years and met one of them briefly. It’s a very caring parish with caring people.’
Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said: ‘The community is shocked and deeply saddened at the events that unfolded last night in Lixnaw.
‘It’s a very quiet place and a very close-knit community and everyone is devastated at what happened.
‘No-one can comprehend, no-one can understand, and we are deeply upset by what happened.
‘Unfortunately tragedies like these are becoming more common.
‘In a community where everybody knows everybody, the first reaction is how could this happen and why did this happen?
‘I think that now is not the time for those questions. I think now is the time to be supportive of the family and their friends of the bereaved people, and that is our job now to support them in their time of need and distress.
‘That is what we will be doing.
‘They have lived in the area for a long time and we want to support the bereaved people in whatever way we can.’