NBC New York
A man in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife shot his two young children as they laid in their beds and bludgeoned his wife to death before killing himself at their home in Westchester. Katy Tur reports.
A man in the midst of divorce proceedings with his wife shot his two young children as they laid in their beds and bludgeoned his wife to death before killing himself at their home in an affluent New York City suburb, police said.
Police said Sam Friedlander, 50, shot 8-year-old Gregory and 10-year-old Molly in their torsos as they laid in their beds, and beat his 46-year-old wife, Amy, to death in their bedroom. He then turned the shotgun on himself in the basement.
The murders happened sometime around midnight Monday in the family's four-bedroom Colonial-style house in Cross River, according to police. Autopsies will be performed Wednesday.
The bodies were found Tuesday afternoon by a state trooper after someone at Sam Friedlander's office called out of concern when he didn't show up for work.
Police said the couple was in the midst of a divorce, but would not speculate on "how bitter it was." Authorities said the Friedlanders had a court date for the divorce scheduled this week, but had no details on what those proceedings were to have been.
Police said people close to Sam Friedlander have told authorities he was acting irrationally in recent weeks, but said it was nothing that would have indicated such a violent spree.
The Lewisboro school district said the children attended the elementary school. Counselors will be on hand to assist grieving students.
"We are extremely saddened by the tragic loss of these two students, and we wish to extend our prayers and deepest condolences to the students’ family and friends during this difficult time," Katonah-Lewisboro School District Superintendent Paul Kreutzer said in a statement. "Our community is truly grief-stricken over this horrific news."
A May 2000 wedding announcement in The New York Times described Amy Friedlander as a vice president for Chase Manhattan Bank at that time. More recently, she was a partner at John Jay Prep, a college tutoring program that offers classes to help students prepare for standardized exams and build writing skills.
A statement on the program's website attributed to Friedlander's partner at John Jay, Deborah Bernstein, called the late woman a friend and loving mother.
"We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of Amy Friedlander and her children Molly and Gregory," the statement said. "Amy was not only a business partner but a personal friend and loving mother. She will be truly missed by us and the community at large."
The decade-old wedding notice said her husband was an associate counsel of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in Manhattan.
Police say they have been told Sam Friedlander was still an attorney when he died, but it wasn't clear where he worked.
Real estate records show the house where their bodies were found was listed as for sale.
The neighborhood, called Michelle Estates, was developed by financier Carl Icahn and has homes valued at around $800,000 to $1 million, the Journal News reported. The Friedlanders' home is listed for sale at $799,000.