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Sheriff: Fatal shooting was murder-suicide

Friday - 11/22/2013, 11:50am  ET

Police look for answers after apparent murder-suicide

WTOP's Nick Iannelli reports.

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Murder-suicide in New Market

WTOP talks with ABC7's Tom Roussey

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WASHINGTON - The Frederick County Sheriff's Office says autopsies have concluded that the fatal shooting of three people in their home near the quiet, rural town of New Market was a murder-suicide.

Capt. Tim Clarke disclosed the information Friday about 40- year-old Benyam Asefa; his 42-year-old wife Barbara Giomarelli; and their 3-month- old son Samuel Asefa.

Clarke says a 5-year-old daughter who escaped unharmed didn't hide in the house, as investigators previously believed.

The girl went to a neighbor's house in the subdivision and reported her mother, father and brother were all hurt, Clark said.

He said the girl was unhurt and is now in the care of child protective services.

He says police probably won't release further details until Monday, following weekend interviews with Asefa's family members from New York and Giomarelli's from Italy.

Officials say Giomarelli had worked until February as a researcher at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

The National Institutes of Health says Asefa had worked until September as a clinical immunologist at a laboratory in Frederick.

Officials say they responded to the shooting in the 6800 block of Woods Court in the Pinehurst subdivision at about 8:15 p.m. Wednesday to find the bodies.


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Clark said he didn't know of any suicide note. He said details of the shooting were sketchy because the surviving child is the only known witness.

Clarke says that the deputies who responded may need counseling.

"Well, any incident with this type of magnitude obviously affects everyone," he says.

People living in the small subdivision were in shock following the news.

Watch the video below from ABC7.

The Associated Press' David Dishneau contributed to this report.

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