MODESTO, California — A man reportedly facing family and other problems shot and killed his wife and two grown children before taking his life at a Northern California home on New Year’s Day, police and a relative said Friday.
Officers responded late Thursday to a 911 call from a man saying he killed his family, Modesto police spokeswoman Heather Graves said. All four apparently lived at the home in this city of 200,000 people about 70 miles southeast of Sacramento and were the only ones there during the shooting.
It appears that 57-year-old Stephen Mingham shot his wife, Janet Mingham, 56; son Chad Mingham, 33; and daughter Nicole Mingham, 34, Graves said. The initial investigation shows that Stephen Mingham then shot himself.
Investigators discovered the father, mother and son dead inside the home after unsuccessfully trying to reach the family by calling them by phone and through a loudspeaker, Graves said. The man’s daughter was found alive and underwent surgery, but she later died.
The man’s brother, Joe Minghan, said that after Stephen Mingham retired as a woodshop teacher at a Modesto junior high school he spent most of his time caring for his daughter, who after a long illness suffered a brain injury.
“This weighed really heavily on my brother,” Joe Mingham said. “He devoted his entire time to caring for her.”
Stephen Mingham called his brother shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday. “He said, ‘I just killed Jan. Nicole and Chad,'” Joe Mingham told the Modesto Bee (http://bit.ly/1K8rt9C). Stephen Mingham then said he was going to kill himself.
Joe Mingham said his brother’s son had a history of drug sales and theft, once stealing guns from his own dad. He had recently been released from prison and returned to live with his parents.
He adds that his brother never told him about his finances but he had heard the family was dealing with bankruptcy.
“I assumed Steve reached his point,” he said, trying explain the personal turmoil that weighed on his brother.