MISSOULA, Mont. (Reuters) - A Montana father shot and killed his wife and three young children, then set fire to the family’s rural cabin before committing suicide, local police said on Monday.
Authorities in Anaconda-Deer Lodge County were alerted on Sunday morning after the shooter called an acquaintance and said he planned to kill his family, and himself.
“The home is located in a remote, rugged area, and we didn’t immediately know where it was,” said Anaconda-Deer Lodge Police Chief Tim Barkell.
By the time authorities found the cabin, located 15 miles outside of the town in the Beaverhead-Deerlodge National Forest, smoke and heat prevented immediate entry, Barkell said.
Four area fire departments arrived on scene to douse flames that were confined to the upper part of the home, Barkell said.
The victims include the man’s 38-year-old wife and three children, ages one, four and six, according to Anaconda-Deer Lodge Coroner Gerald Thomas. The shooter was in his 50s and used a hand gun.
Authorities have not yet released names and were having difficulty finding next of kin, police said, adding that the victims' bodies were transported Sunday to the Montana State Crime Lab in Missoula for autopsies.
Editing by Cynthia Johnston