Father killed 2 children, set fire to home


ERIE, Pa. (AP) — A father killed his two young children and then set fire to their northwestern Pennsylvania house, where he was also found dead, authorities said.
State police said the bodies of Richard Zimmer, 48, and the 10-year-old boy and 13-year-old girl were found after the blaze was reported shortly 2 p.m. in the Greene Township home in Erie County. Police said concerned relatives went to the home after Zimmer failed to show up for a custody hearing and arrived to find heavy smoke.
Police said the bodies were found in various rooms. They said the preliminary evidence indicates that Zimmer killed the children, whose names weren’t released, with a shotgun he owned.
Police said that after they were dead, he “started multiple fires within the residence” and shot himself.
WICU TV reported that investigators believe that the young victims were killed at night, and the children were sleeping at the time.
Lt. Mark Weindorf, crime section supervisor for state police Troop E in Lawrence Park Township, told the Erie Times-News that the children were Zimmer’s biological children. Erie County Chief Deputy Coroner Nick Rekitt said the deceased were pronounced dead at the scene and no autopsies were planned.
Investigators said the fire didn’t cause significant damage to the residence, which is across the street from the Eriez Speedway.


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