BRIDGETON • A 73-year-old man shot and killed his wife and two of their adult children in their Bridgeton home before killing himself Saturday, police say.
Thomas Patrick Comer fatally shot his wife, Carole Comer, 71; a son, John Michael Comer, 50; and a daughter, Rebecca Comer Kelleher, 45, before killing himself, according to authorities. Police identified the eldest Comer as the shooter in a statement Monday afternoon, but did not address a possible motive.
The four were found dead in their home in the 3600 block of Harmann Estates Court Saturday morning. Police said they were called to the home at 11:41 a.m. and had to force their way into the house, where they found the family members dead, each from a gunshot wound. Police said a firearm was found and that no one else was inside the residence.
In a statement released through police, family members of the Comers thanked those who have supported or prayed for the family.
"The terrible tragedy of this past weekend has irrevocably changed our lives," the family said in the statement. "Each of our now-departed loved ones is incredibly dear to us and it is with unimaginable grief that we are attempting to reconcile the earth-shattering heartache we are now facing with our lifetime experience of being a deeply close, loving family."
The family asked for privacy and said funeral and obituary information would be forthcoming.
"As we work to move forward and hold on to each other, we ask that you do the same," the statement said. "Cherish your families. Hug your kids. Serve your neighbors. Respect your fellow man. You were made to love and be loved. Please make the most of that."
'Nice and decent people'
A neighbor in the area of winding streets and cul-de-sacs — hard-hit by a tornado on Good Friday in 2011 — told a reporter she had known the family for 16 years.
“I’m very sad to hear this,” Joyce Kemper said late Saturday afternoon. “They were very nice and decent people, without a doubt.”
“I can’t even imagine the pain that family is in right now,” Kemper added.
A friend of the family, Kelli Kozielek of Chesterfield, set up a GoFundMe account Sunday to help surviving family members who live elsewhere deal with funeral costs and related expenses.
Kozielek, 40, said she had known the Comers since growing up in the same neighborhood. She said Thomas Comer was a Boeing Co. retiree, Carole Comer a homemaker and their daughter Rebecca Comer Kelleher an aesthetician at a massage business.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Kozielek said. “It shatters your world.”
Kozielek said she is a close friend of another daughter of the Comers who lives in Maryland Heights. She said two other daughters also are survivors. She said one lives in St. Charles and the other out of state.
"The family was so close," Kozielek said. "They were all hanging out together Friday night. There's no explanation."
Kozielek said Carole Comer had been battling lung cancer. A December Facebook post from Rebecca Comer Kelleher mentions health problems in her family, including her mother’s cancer. Kelleher posted several times to a Facebook page dedicated to problems at the West Lake Landfill.
Kozielek said thousands of dollars had been raised in a just a few hours through the GoFundMe account. “It’s amazing to me to see the support and generosity,” she said.
Kim Bell, Denise Hollinshed and Kristen Taketa of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.