LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A 48-year-old hospital worker opened fire
on his family in their home - killing his wife and teenage stepdaughter and critically wounding his stepson, police said Monday. The man then shot himself to death.
"We believe it is a murder suicide," said Louisville police Detective Phil Russell.
Keith Northern died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, said Jefferson County deputy coroner Gayle Norris. His 35-year-old wife, Katina Northern, died of multiple gunshot wounds and her daughter, 16-year-old Rachel Mattingly, died of a single gunshot wound, Norris said.
All three were pronounced dead at the scene, Norris said. The weapon was a 9 mm handgun, Russell said.
Katina Northern's 12-year-old son was shot in the cheek and underwent surgery at Kosair Children's Hospital, where he was in critical condition Monday.
Louisville police were alerted of the shootings just before 10 p.m. EDT Sunday when the wounded boy ran to a neighbor's house and said his mother and sister had been shot.
Police hoped to talk to the boy eventually to find out what led to the shootings.
"Until we have a chance to talk with him, we're not going to know the sequence of events," Louisville police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said.
Hours before the shooting spree in the middle-class neighborhood, the family had spent an enjoyable Sunday together that included a barbecue, a family friend said.
The shootings shocked Keith Northern's family, said family friend Christopher 2X.
"They don't know what went wrong," he said. "It's mind-boggling to them."
The couple had worked for a number of years at Jewish Hospital, where Katina Northern was a nurse and her husband was a patient service assistant.
Police had been called to the residence once or twice in the past year and a half, but Smiley did not know the reason officers were summoned.
Smiley said investigators found a couple of handguns in the home Sunday night. Police did not say what weapon was used in the shootings.
The Northerns met while working at the Louisville hospital and had been married for about a year and a half, Christopher 2X said.
A couple of hours before the shootings, Keith Northern called his sister and gave no hint of any problems, 2X said.
"He described the day as being a great day with barbecuing," he said.
At 9:40 p.m., Keith Northern called his sister again, but by the time she answered there was no one on the line, 2X said. She called her brother back but got no answer.
The shootings occurred about that time.
"They're still trying to figure out what was the boiling point," 2X said of Keith Northern's family.
Keith Northern's family expressed its sympathy to Katina Northern's family.
"They can't describe in words how much sorrow they feel for this other family," 2X said.
(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)