A former Bush administration official killed his 12-year-old son and then himself in Northern Virginia’s fashionable McLean residential area Thursday night.
Reports the Washington Post:
A former Bush administration official, after arguing violently with his wife Thursday night, shot and killed his 12-year-old son inside their McLean home, then turned a shotgun on himself and committed suicide, Fairfax County police said.
William H. Lash III, 45, was an assistant secretary of commerce from 2001 until last year, then returned to teach at George Mason University Law School in Arlington, where he had begun as a professor in 1994. His wife, Sharon K. Zackula, fled the house before the shootings, and police said yesterday they were not sure what ignited the murder-suicide in a first-floor bedroom.
Friends and neighbors described Lash as devoted to his only child, William H. Lash IV, who was autistic. Will Lash had just completed sixth grade at Haycock Elementary School in the Falls Church area, Fairfax school officials said. The father and son could often be seen side by side on the swing set in their back yard, one neighbor said, and the pair often attended Washington Nationals baseball games.
Police said they had not been summoned this year to the blue expanded Cape Cod-style home on Pathfinder Lane in the West McLean neighborhood. There was no record of any domestic complaints. Neighbors said the family kept a low profile.
But shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday, police said, Lash and Zackula had a dispute and Zackula ran from the house and called police. Zackula was not hurt, but the dispute was physical enough that police later obtained a warrant charging Lash with domestic assault, Officer Richard Henry said.
Lash never knew about the warrant. When three or four officers arrived at 9:55 p.m., Henry said, they knocked on several doors but got no answer. Within 10 minutes, while trying to decide their next move, the officers heard two gunshots from inside the house, Henry said.