TABERNACLE, N.J. (AP) — A shooting at a home in a secluded wooded area of southern New Jersey left two children dead and their brother and their mother critically wounded, state police said Thursday.
Officials said they were not prepared to say whether the shooting in Tabernacle was considered a murder-suicide, but they did say there was no threat to the public and no active search for a shooter.
State police said 44-year-old Jeaninne LePage was in critical condition Thursday evening at Cooper University Hospital in Camden. A boy injured in the shooting also was in critical condition. Police did not release the names or ages of the children.
State police said they received a call from another relative in the home at about 9:15 a.m. reporting that the mother and children — believe to be middle-school and high-school aged — had been shot.
The woman had a single shot to her head; officials would not say where the children had been shot. All were found in the same room, and a handgun believed to be the only weapon used was found, police said.
Five other people live in the home, but authorities say none reported hearing any shooting. The reason for that was another issue that officials said they couldn't explain yet.
"It's going to be a long time before we know exactly what happened," state police Detective Geoff Noble said.
Authorities said all the other residents of the home had been accounted for.
State police had a section of the road closed Thursday evening as investigators continued searching the property. They were seen looking through three cars in the driveway.
Just before 5 p.m., authorities brought out the bodies of the two children.
Duke German, 50, of Tabernacle, said his son goes to school with one of the boys who lives at the house and said the boy wasn't on the school bus Thursday morning.
The Burlington County community is located in the sparsely populated New Jersey Pinelands, about 30 miles east of Philadelphia.
Neighbors said they did not know the residents of the house and did not hear any commotion Thursday morning until troopers arrived and helicopters began hovering overhead.
"It's very quiet, peaceful," said Mike Watson, who has lived in the neighborhood for 25 years. "You can hear a pin drop."
Associated Press writers Maryclaire Dale in Philadelphia and Shawn Marsh in Trenton, New Jersey, and researcher Judith Ausuebel in New York City contributed to this report.