Four relatives, 1 woman and 3 of her grandchildren, were killed on a North Dakota Indian reservation after they were gunned down in their home Sunday afternoon in an apparent homicide-suicide case.
The killings took place on the Indian reservation in North Dakota known as New Town, and on Monday, FBI investigators were searching a home of a man who committed suicide hours after the shootings in a nearby community of Parshall, who was also considered a “person of interest.”
The four victims were, 64-year-old grandmother, Martha Johnson and three of her grandchildren, Benjamin Schuster, 13, Julia Schuster, 10 and Luke Schuster, 6.
Police were alerted of the shootings by a fourth grandchild, and 12-year-old brother of the other children, who was in the home at the time of the shooting but was unharmed.
According to Mountrail County Sheriff Ken Halvorson, the grandfather and husband of Martha Johnson, was out hunting during the killings. Halverson also said that the 20-year-old man considered a “person of interest” killed himself with a knife in front of two officers.
Authorities declined to identify the “person of interest,” but did say he was an enrolled tribal member. Neither Johnson nor her grandchildren were members, Halvorson said.
Declining to release any further information on the ongoing investigation, FBI spokesman Kyle Loven said that the FBI had taken control of the investigation because the federal government has jurisdiction over Indian reservations.
One neighbor, Megan Hale, who lived across the street from the Johnson’s, said that she believes the children had just recently moved into the home, and the mother was never seen.
“She was a nice lady. She was always out in the yard working,” Hale said of the slaying of the grandmother. “It’s very sad. It’s unreal.”