Counselors and Wattsburg Area School District respond to murder-suicide-arson case

Local News

The deadly murder suicide that took the lives of two children has some counselors talking about the warning signs people who should look out for if a person seems to be disturbed.

We went to the Greene Township residence where the incident took place. We also spoke to a counselor at the Crime Victim Center.

It’s been 24 hours and we can still smell the smoke from yesterday’s fires. Everything seems to be intact and we can even see a children’s playground sill standing.

The counselor from the Crime Victim Center said signs of someone being disturbed can be very subtle.

It’s a quiet scene at the residence in the 9000 block of Sampson Road that has a playground waiting for children to take a swing.

10-year-old Zachary Zimmer and 13-year-old Madison Zimmer won’t be able to do so because their lives were taken away by their father, who Pennsylvania State Police identify as 48-year-old Richard Zimmer.

Police said that Zimmer fatally shot his two children at this Greene Township residence. Police said that Zimmer set fire to the residence and then killed himself.

This kind of deadly situation has some counselors like Paul Lukach, warn to watch for behaviors that can lead to this kind of tragedy.

“Listening is good, being a surrounding board is great, but when you hear somebody talking about harming themselves or harming others or having behaviors that’s just not like them, those are the times to reach out to the good services that we have and get the help those people desperately need,” said Paul Lukach, Executive Director of the Crime Victim Center.

After speaking to neighbors off camera, one of them expressed that the kids were wonderful and they will be missed.

The two children were students of the Wattsburg Area School District.

According to the school district, Zachary and Madison Zimmer were students who they said were such wonderful young students.

In a statement, the Wattsburg Area School District said:

“The Wattsburg Area School District and community are deeply saddened by the passing of such wonderful young students and will work with their family to assist them through this difficult time.”

Lukach said that neighbors, friends, and family members would need to look out for one another if they see any abnormal behavior of a person.

Lukach suggests calling the mental crisis hotline if you or someone you know may want to take action of harming themselves or others.

Pennsylvania State Police said it will take a while to investigate the motive of this murder-suicide incident.

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