SALEM – Police have released the identities of the people involved in a murder-suicide in Salem.
Autopsies completed on Wednesday, Aug. 1, determined that Jeffrey Kaznecki, 50, Barbara Kaznecki, 51, and Shirley Leary, 85, were all killed by gunshot wounds to the head in their home at 33 Wheeler Ave. on Tuesday, July 31, according to the attorney general’s office.
Barbara Kaznecki and Leary’s deaths were classified as homicides. Jeffrey Kaznecki’s death was listed as a suicide.
The investigation is ongoing, but the Attorney General’s Office said that Jeffrey Kaznecki apparently shot his wife and mother in their home before taking his own life. No motive was given.
On her Facebook page, Barbara describes herself as married to Jeff for 30 years. The couple has a daughter, Samantha, who is engaged, the page says.
The last posting on her page says Barbara “has discovered that sometimes it’s best to leave some people in the past.”
Neighbors knew little about the family or what may have motivated the crime. They kept to themselves but seemed friendly and exchanged casual greetings, neighbors said.
Earl Smith, of Old Coach Road, is new to the neighborhood. He didn’t know the Kazneckis but said his thoughts went out to their extended family.
“I really feel sorry for that family right now, having to go through all that,” Smith said. “I wish them all the best.”
Overall, Smith said, it’s a friendly neighborhood and the event was a secluded incident.
Police were called to the home around noon on Tuesday after a passerby noticed a man in the driveway.
“We responded to a man being down and determined he was deceased,” said Deputy Chief Shawn Patten of the Salem Police Department.
A firearm was found nearby, Patten said.
“We immediately followed up with a search to the home and found two individuals – both females – inside the home,” he said.
One of the women was pronounced dead at the scene. The second was pronounced dead after being transported to Holy Family Hospital. The family dog had also been shot and killed, police said.
Mark Strugnell, 52, lives in 27 Wheeler Ave., near the residence where the incident took place. Strugnell was called at work and came home to get his daughter Melissa, 16.
“It’s nerve-wracking, to say the least,” Strugnell said.
Police told him the incident was a domestic situation and his family was not in danger, Strugnell said, but he was relieved to come home and know that his family was safe.
Susan Abbott, 53, of 9 Wheeler Ave., moved to the neighborhood about eight years ago and said she loves it because the neighborhood is quiet and the people are friendly.
“Everybody watches out for everybody else,” Abbott said. “It’s sad to me that something like this could happen.”
Michelle Flett, of 23 Wheeler Ave., came home to find police tape across the roadway. She’s lived in the area about six months and was surprised to hear about the incident. She wasn’t aware of any previous disturbances.
“It’s so quiet. You never really hear anything,” Flett said.
The crime remains under investigation by the Attorney General and state and local police.
Union Leader correspondent James A. Kimble contributed to this story.