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By The Associated Press
Monday, May 4, 2009, 9:44 AM
LAKELAND, Fla. – A 13-year-old boy ran through a garage to escape his family’s slaughter at the hands of his father, who then took his own life on their front lawn, authorities said.
Investigators said Monday they had not found any suicide note, and a motive for the killings late Sunday remained unclear. They said Troy Ryan Bellar, 34, shot and killed his wife, Wendy Bellar, 31, and their 5-month-old and 8-year-old sons before killing himself outside their home in Lakeland, located between Tampa and Orlando.
Another son, 13-year-old Nathan Bellar, was pursued through the garage by his father, evaded several gunshots, and made it safely to a neighbor’s house. The boy was being placed with family members.
“I heard Wendy screaming and the baby crying,” said Doug Lane, who lives next door. He described hearing a barrage of gunfire erupt from his neighbor’s home.
Wendy Bellar sounded as if she was in “horror, terror,” he said.
“I knew it was a powerful gun,” Lane said. “I knew it was gunfire.”
Wendy Bellar tried to leave the home with two of the children after a fight with her husband, Polk County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Scott Wilder said .
But Troy Bellar opened fire with a 7.62 mm rifle and killed his wife, 5-month-old Zack James Bellar and 8-year-old Ryan Patrick Bellar in the front porch area.
“It’s a very, very angry and selfish and cowardly person who murdered his family,” Wilder said. “What motive or what explanation can you give?”
Investigators were still trying to determine the sequence of the shooting.
No neighbors were injured by gunfire, according to a canvass by deputies.
The shootings took place in a quiet suburban community, where the Bellars lived in a ranch-style home with green shutters and a screened-in front porch.
Investigators say Troy Bellar ran a home remodeling and handyman business. His wife was a stay-at-home mom.
Lane said Troy Bellar’s business seemed to keep going despite the economic downturn.
“He said the remodeling had dropped off, but he was doing repair work for commercial apartments and that sort of thing,” Lane said. “He said that he was staying busy.”
Wilder couldn’t say if the family was experiencing any financial difficulties.
He said the husband had been arrested twice in the county, on suspicion of aggravated assault in 1994 and suspicion of driving under the influence in 1999. Wendy Bellar was arrested in March on suspicion of domestic battery.
Lane said he never heard the couple arguing. On Sunday evening, they were sitting outside together, giving no indication that anything was wrong.
“Troy and Wendy were good, good neighbors,” he said. “Fortunate to know them. Just an awful shock.”
Published on Monday, July 23, 2012 in Colorado, Theatershooting.
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Watch this short interview with Michael Moore, author, director and producer of Bowling for Columbine, where he calls for a federal investigation into the link between prescribed drugs and mass shootings such as the 1999 Columbine massacre.
10 recent murders and murder-suicides, resulting in 43 dead and 37 wounded:
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – March 8, 2012: 30-year-old John Shick, former patient of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) and former student at nearby Duquesne University, shot and killed one and injured six inside UPMC’s Western Psychiatrist Institute. Nineantidepressants were identified among the drugs police found in Shick’s apartment.
- Seal Beach, California – October 12, 2011: Scott DeKraai, a harbor tugboat worker, entered the hair salon where his ex-wife worked, killing her and seven others and injuring one. At DeKraai’s initial hearing, his attorney indicated to the judge that DeKraai was prescribed the antidepressant Trazodone and the “mood stabilizer” Topamax.
- Lakeland, Florida – May 3, 2009: Toxicology test results showed that 34-year-old Troy Bellar was on Tegretol, a drug prescribed for “bi-polar disorder,” when he shot and killed his wife and two of his three children in their home before killing himself…