Have you ever been awakened by the sound of helicopters flying overhead? On Friday morning, this happened to me. It’s a bit disconcerting. Upon turning to the local news, I found out the reason why. Turns out that another guy had decided to kill his family.
On Friday morning, David Campbell called a Mason County, Washington detective to say that he’d just shot four people and was going to kill himself. He called Chief Deputy Ryan Spurling on the officer’s cell phone number, which was on a business card Campbell had from a previous interaction. The Mason County SWAT team and a squad of other officers headed to the remote property near Belfair. Campbell was there, inside one of the buildings, holding the gun to his head.
After several hours of negotiations, Campbell was smoked out with tear gas and finally came outside only to shoot himself in front of the officers. The police then searched the property — which had 11 buildings on it — and found the bodies of four people who included Campbell’s wife, their two teenage sons and a neighbor (who remains unidentified until next of kin could be told).
Another person, a 12-year-old girl, was found wandering away from the property. Police have not said whether or not she is related to Campbell (some reports confirm this, but nothing is official). They hope to be able to get some answers from her when she is ready to talk.
People live pretty far apart in our area. Where I live is almost cosmopolitan compared to where this happened. That area is just over the hill from me — about 3 miles — and is heavily wooded. The neighbors who did live near the Campbells are stunned. Campbell didn’t drink, they said, and loved his family. Friends saw no warning signs. However, a couple who spent Thursday evening with the family said that Campbell was upset about a dispute with a former co-worker.
The co-worker described an incident where Campbell pulled a gun on him. It wasn’t clear if this is the origin of the dispute:
He thought he was being funny. He pulled out his pistol and said he could kill me whenever he wanted to and bury me in the 11 acres next to his home and no one would find me.
One neighbor heard gunshots late Thursday night but didn’t think anything of it. We hear shots quite often in this area, as people target shoot out here and the county police practice range is just down the road. Yes, we even hear shots late at night. The deputies practice at all hours, too.
The Mason County Sheriff’s Office released a timeline. It’s pretty dry but a good look at how this sort of, now routine, incident is handled. You can read it here.
The investigation is going to last months, the Mason County Sheriff’s Office told reporters. Meanwhile, the shooting barely causes a blip on the media radar. Is this sort of thing just routine, now? Just another mass shooting, let’s wring our hands and pray for the victims? Last year, there were 353 mass shootings. So far this year there have been 34 mass shootings. Looks like we’re off to a banner year. Must give the NRA a warm fuzzy feeling.
Here’s the latest report from KING5 TV, Seattle.
Featured Image via KING5 TV, Seattle