ASTORIA, Queens — Four people, including a man and his 6-year-old son, are dead in what investigators say may have been a murder-suicide in Queens, authorities said.
Two women, a man and a young boy were found shot to death in a first-floor apartment on 30th Drive near 23rd Street in Astoria just before 9 p.m. Monday, officials said.
Two glock pistols were found at the scene, according to Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. Those firearms were most likely purchased and carried legally, he said.
Officials said there does not seem to be any threat to the community. Investigators are eyeing custody issues and financial hardships as the motive.
Police said James Shields, 39, was found dead along with his son, ex-wife and mother of his child, and his current wife.
Investigators have identified one of the slain women as Linda Olthof, 47, and the child as James Giacomo Shields, police said. The identification of the second woman who was killed is pending family notification, police said.
PIX11 News spoke with a man who said he is the father and grandfather of the man and boy who were found dead.
The father and grandfather said his son had been involved in a custody battle with his ex-wife. He confirmed that a GoFundMe made by user James Shields had been created by his son. The fundraiser since has been taken down.
A high-ranking police official confirmed the grandfather’s account.
The fundraiser posted by Shields, titled “Child Kidnapping,” was posted on April 19 with a goal of $30,000. As of Tuesday, it hadn't garnered any donations.
In its description, Shields said his wife returned to her native Netherlands while pregnant because she couldn’t find work as an artist in the U.S. He said his ex-wife wanted the child to stay in the U.S. with his father for two weeks a year, but he said he “just can’t accept” that. He said he was being financially “ruined” by the cost of legal expenses and traveling overseas to see his son.
The chief of detectives said Shields' ex-wife has custody of their son and visitation was back and forth. He said the ex-wife and child flew to the U.S. on July 21.