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Man kills son, daughter-in-law, self near Gilbertsville as domestic violence surges in Montgomery County
Morning Call - 9/15/2020
A 78-year-old man shot his adult son and daughter-in-law on Monday before turning the gun on himself in New Hanover Township, according to the Montgomery County district attorney’s office.
Authorities responded Monday night to the home in the 2900 block of Reifsnyder Road for a reported shooting. They found Gerald E. Mihalcik dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Rebecca Hall Evans, 51, was also dead in the home.
Stephen J. Mihalcik, 56, was found alive, but badly injured and taken to Reading Hospital. He died during treatment.
Authorities say all three lived together in the home along with Stephen Mihalcik and Evans' two children. District attorney spokesperson Kate Delano said one of the children was a young adult and the other a juvenile, and she was uncertain about whether they were home at the time of the shooting. Neither was injured, however, she said.
On Tuesday, following autopsies, authorities determined Evans death was a homicide. She was shot once in the head. Gerald Mihalcik was also shot in the head, but his death has been ruled a suicide.
The Berks County coroner’s office conducted an autopsy on Stephen Mihalcik on Tuesday and determined that he died from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. His death was also ruled a homicide.
“This is such a tragedy and my heart does out to the surviving family members,” said District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement. “We are seeing more domestic violence homicides in Montgomery County this year than ever before."
Steele urged those in a violent situation to call 911 immediately. Other Montgomery County agencies that can help include the Laurel House hotline, 800-642-3150, and the Women’s Center of Montgomery County hotline, 800-773-2424.
Delano said the DA’s office would not speculate on a motive in the double murder-suicide but said domestic violence has been especially brutal in the county since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. There have been three men and one woman charged with homicide in domestic violence incidents since in Montgomery County since March.
And on Aug. 11 the Montgomery County district attorney’s office determined that a couple found dead in an Abington Township apartment died in a murder-suicide as well. Delano said authorities believe the crime took place days prior, but was only discovered after neighbors reported a foul odor.
Morning Call reporter Sarah M. Wojcik can be reached at 610-778-2283 or email@example.com.
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