Neighbors said a couple and their two teenage children lived in the home where officers found the four bodies. Anne Arundel County Police did not immediately identify the people, though Lt. J.D. Batten did confirm a man, woman and two children were found. Neighbors didn't know or wouldn't give the names of the family members.
The despondent tone of the text message made the man's mother concerned for her son's well-being and his family's safety, Batten said.
Investigators believe that the man shot the other members of his family. The single shot officers heard was the man killing himself, Batten said.
Many residents of Brooklyn Park, a neighborhood of brick townhouses just south of Baltimore, gathered on their porches and yards to discuss the shooting, noting that times might be tough, but they couldn't believe that the man they had met would harm his family.
Jody Eckmeyer says that the father was a truck driver, had a good sense of humor and often visited with neighbors. The mother was a nurse and the teens, a girl and a boy, often spent time hanging out with friends on the porch and stayed out of trouble, she said.
"They were very well-respected," Eckmeyer said.
Another neighbor, Thomas Slade, said the father, who rode a Suzuki motorcycle, would often come over to Slade's garage to have a couple of beers and work on his motorcycle while Slade worked on his Harley-Davidson.
"We were good friends, but we didn't ride together," he said. Slade never heard him talk about problems at home but he had recently mentioned that he had landed a new job with a trucking firm.