Police: Girl, 4, killed in murder-suicide at North Portland home - KPTV - FOX 12

Neighbors react to murder-suicide: 'They looked like a picture-perfect family'

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

Police believe a man shot and killed his 4-year-old daughter before turning the gun on himself. The investigation has a north Portland neighborhood in shock.

Officers were called to the home in the 4700 block of North Houghton Street just before 7 p.m.

Detectives said a woman called 911 after discovering the man, 34-year-old Jesse Willard, and the girl, 4-year-old Maribella Willard, lying dead inside the home.

Police said the woman was Maribella Willard's mother and Jesse Willard's wife. She had just arrived home from work. 

A state medical examiner said the father and daughter each died of a gunshot wound to the head. Detectives believe he shot the girl and then himself.

Investigators said the couple's other daughter was not home at the time of the shooting.

Photos: Scene of apparent murder-suicide involving father, young daughter

On Thursday, detectives spent several hours working to collect evidence in the case. Neighbors tell FOX 12 that the family seemed happy and the thought of this happening is simply too much.

"As a mom, it's hard to see this going on in the neighborhood," said neighbor Luvenia Jackson. "Our hearts go out to our neighbors. We are family, even though we live across the street, we are still family. Especially when our kids play together. To see something like this happen, it's really hard."

Other neighbors said two girls were often seen playing outside, walking their dog and going to a neighborhood park.

"They just looked like a picture-perfect family," said neighbor Lucinda Williams. "What would make you snap like that?"

Police said Friday that Jesse Willard was struggling with mental health issues prior to the shootings.

People created a makeshift memorial at the home Friday with stuffed animals and flowers.

Community members seeking information on how to communicate with friends and family members about this situation are encouraged to go to the Trauma Intervention Program website at www.tipnational.org.

The Multnomah County Mental Health Call Center is available 24 hours a day at 503-988-4888.

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare has an urgent walk-in clinic, open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., seven days a week. Payment is not necessary. More information: 503-963-2575.

Lines for Life is also available 24 hours a day at 503-972-3456.

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