Suspended Michigan Cop Shot Family, Burned House, Then Turned The Gun On Himself

WATERFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) -- A suspended police officer under criminal investigation shot his wife and 9-year-old son before killing himself as part of a double murder-suicide, his department said Monday.

The bodies of Officer Michael Waleskowski, his wife Lorna and son Hayden were found inside their Waterford Township home Sunday morning.

When authorities arrived, the house was engulfed in flames, but Robert Gerds, administrator for the Oakland County medical examiner's office, said all three died from gunshot wounds to the head.

He said Waleskowski's manner of death was determined to be suicide, while the others were homicides.

Waterford Township Police Chief John Dean said Waleskowski was under criminal and internal investigation for allegations of stealing money. He said Waleskowski had been suspended because of the investigation, but didn't give any more details.

``We now believe that Officer Mike Waleskowski killed his wife, his 9-year-old son and then killed himself,'' Dean told reporters at a news conference. After reading from a prepared statement, Dean took no questions.

``It's a very difficult time for all of us,'' Dean said.

Beth White, a family friend who came to the police department for the news conference, said afterward that Waleskowski was suspended during his shift just hours before the 6:45 a.m. EDT fire was reported. White said neither she nor others who knew Waleskowski thought he was capable of killing his family.

``I don't think they can believe it either,'' White said of Waleskowski's police colleagues. ``They're all in shock. They were his friends.''

Neither police nor fire officials would say what role the fire played in the double murder-suicide. Dennis Storrs, the township fire chief, said there was a high probability that flammable liquids were involved in the fire, which injured three firefighters who battled the blaze.

``The house was literally an inferno,'' Storrs said.

The bodies were found in bedrooms on the upper floor of the two-story house where the Waleskowskis had lived for at least 10 years, authorities said Sunday. Storrs on Monday declined to discuss details of what firefighters found inside the home, noting that the investigation into the deaths was ongoing.

Waleskowski was a five-year veteran of the police department in Waterford Township, about 35 miles northwest of Detroit.

Hayden would have started fifth grade Monday at Haviland Elementary School, where he was a student since kindergarten, said district spokeswoman Rhonda Lessel.

Lessel said the school's roughly 54 fifth graders were told Monday that a one of the school's students died in a fire, and that a letter was sent home with children to parents explaining the situation. She also said the school had counselors and psychologists available to talk with the children.