Albert Peterson shot dead his wife and two sons hours after going to church because he dreaded the thought of Obama winning the election, a family friend has revealed.
A confidante of the family for the past 25 years has spoken to MailOnline about the strength and grace of the Peterson family, as well as the torment that plagued Albert which drove him to shoot dead his wife Kathleen and his two sons Christopher and Mathew at their suburban home in DC on Sunday.
A history of mental illness, the loss of a dear uncle, and a growing fear of Obama winning a second term in the White House took its toll on the mind of Mr Peterson, a wealthy defense contractor, the friend said.
‘He just did not want his kids inheriting this mess,’ Maggie L, who did not wish to reveal her last name, told MailOnline. ‘Sometimes we thought he might take his own life when he was so depressed. We never thought he would take Kathie’s.’
Albert, 57, Kathleen, 52, Matthew, 16, and Christopher, 13, were found Tuesday just after noon inside 13391 Point Rider Lane in Herndon, Virgina. Co-workers reported to police that they were concerned that Mr and Mrs Peterson had not reported to work for the past two days.
Mr Peterson was a defense contractor and Mrs Peterson worked at Blackbird Technologies, a company that specializes in defense, law enforcement and intelligence work.
Chris was an eighth grader at Rachel Carson Middle School and Matthew was a sophomore at Westfield High School. Both were avid soccer players and active at their church.
The preliminary police investigation indicates that Albert Peterson killed his wife and their children before taking his own life. Each of the deceased died of gunshot wounds to the upper body.
He had a history of depression in his family, the report says: his father and uncle also committed suicide and when his mother died he almost killed himself but his wife pulled him back from the brink. MORE:
Recently, Mr Peterson began writing paranoid emails to his friends and family about politics on a daily basis, sometimes even more frequently, Maggie said.
‘I got emails and the emails stopped all of a sudden last week,’ Maggie said. ‘He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away. He didn’t like where the country was going.’
Mr Peterson, also mentioned pressures at work that troubled Maggie.
Explaining his increasingly erratic behavior, she said: ‘He said he wanted to expose something at work. He also got the impression at work, that if they didn’t vote for Obama and get him elected, they would lose their jobs,’
‘We don’t know. Maybe she put her foot down Sunday night and told him “Al get it together,”‘ Maggie said, noting that both Kathleen and Albert had security clearances.
‘When Al was here last time, he was pretty worked up,’ Maggie said. ‘They were very well off people and they saved a lot of money. He couldn’t understand how the government could be so irresponsible and he thought it would be on the backs of his boys.
And — once more in an incident like this — what’s haunting are the pictures of the beautiful wife and the two boys. The report notes that the older boy was talking of his college plans.
Once again during an election year, I’m struck again by the number of people who think that if their side loses it means the equivalent of the Nazis or the Communists will come to power. The idea that you can debate issues on substance without hating another candidate or the other side or fearing that if the other side wins its The End of America As We Know it and the country collapses is not how some people view politics. And if it alters the perceptions people who are otherwise level headed, just think the impact political emotions whipped up by media and/or professional political polarizers might have on someone hanging by a mental thread? If this report is correct (and if it isn't ghost written by Roger Simon) this offers some tragic food for thought.
In cases like this where kids die young due to mindless or warped-mind violence, I’m haunted by their photos. Go to the link on Mailonline and just look at the photos of this family. You’ll be haunted, too. I’m haunted thinking if the horror of their final moments – and the pointlessness of it all.