Three dead in home in North Huntingdon

| Friday, April 19, 2013, 7:18 a.m.

Authorities are being tight-lipped about who fired the shots that killed three members of a North Huntingdon family in what police have termed an apparent murder-suicide.

Township police found the bodies of Hazel A. Hutchison, 67, Franklin D. Hutchison, 68, and their son, William R. Hutchison, 47, in their home at 2081 Guffey Road about 9:20 p.m. Thursday after William's employer, a local car dealership, contacted police to report he had not been at work for several days.

“The findings are not definitive yet but it does appear at this time ... to be a double homicide/suicide investigation,' North Huntingdon Detective Sgt. Jeffrey Bouldin said.

All three were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Westmoreland County Coroner's Office.

But neither Bouldin nor District Attorney John Peck would reveal the identity of the shooter.

Peck said Friday night that “until the investigation is completed, it would be premature at this point to identify exactly who the killer was.”

Boudin did say that based on evidence at the scene, police believe the shootings occurred sometime Tuesday morning.

Autopsies were conducted on all three victims Friday afternoon, but deputy coroner Joshua Zappone said said he could not release the cause and manner of death because the investigation is ongoing.

Little was known about the family, who neighbors said appeared to be loners, never socializing with others in the cluster of small, 1960s-era houses, packed tightly together in a section of the township called Sunset Valley.

Catherine Savani, 88, who has lived across from the Hutchisons for decades, said, “They were always to themselves. They weren't talkative people.”

She said the men in the house would say hello to her.

“I was shocked (by the news). I was really totally shocked,” she said. “It's very sad. ... It's hard to fathom.”

Many other neighbors, still shaken and not knowing the circumstances of the killings, refused to comment on the record about the family, saying only that they lived in the house for more than 30 years.

Bouldin said, “The mother was found upstairs in her bed. The boy was found in a hallway. And the dad was found downstairs.” He said the couple had another son, Bruce, who lives in White Oak. Attempts to reach him for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

Bouldin would not disclose how many shots were fired in the white, craftsman-style home located along a busy road.

He said township police were familiar with the family, but it's “not a place that we've had incidents.”

“We've been there. Our officers have been to the house ... just neighborhood stuff. Nothing criminal,” Bouldin said.

Staff writer Paul Peirce contributed to this report.

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