Three deaths ruled a murder-suicide

By Nicole Bell - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Authorities now say three members of a Henrico family died in a murder suicide. Their bodies were found in their burning home Friday. Today police say someone set that fire on purpose.

The fire and shootings unfolded in a home on the 1700 block of Debbie Lane. Police say Virginia Ware shot and killed her husband and son. Now, the question is what led up to such violence.

"I don't see how a mother could do that to her child," said neighbor Serena Washington.

Serena Washington often spoke with the family.

"They were nice. They mainly stayed to themselves. They knew everybody around here. They didn't bother anybody," she said.

Police say 44 year old Virginia Ware shot her husband, 56 year old Robert Ware, their son, 20 year old Ashton Ware, then herself. Each had one gunshot wound to the head.

"Of course when something like that happens that close to you it's a surprise, but people have their private selves and their public selves," said Carl Brothers, neighbor.

Police say the bodies of Mr. and Mrs. Ware were found in a bedroom. The body of Ashton Ware was located in a second bedroom inside the home. At some point the house was set on fire. Investigators say it's unclear which family member started the blaze.

"The fire started in the central portion of the home. It appears at this time that the fire was set in an attempt to destroy the home," said Deputy Fire Marshal Chris Buehren.

Police say they don't have any records of disturbances at the home. Neighbors say, the family seemed close and that Ashton always showed respect for his elders.

"He was very well thought of in the neighborhood...very courteous - he sold me some things for school projects when he was in high school," said Brothers.

For now, neighbors say their thoughts and prayers are with the family.

"My feelings go more for the immediate family...people left behind. That's terrible for someone to have to deal with," Brothers said.

Police say they are talking to other relatives in effort to know what caused Mrs. Ware to shot and kill her family. Police also confirmed today that Mrs. Ware was unemployed. Her son, Ashton, was a grounds keeper at J. Sergeant Reynolds. Mr. Ware worked for Dominion Power but was on disability.

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