ANDOVER — In another horrific act of violence in Massachusetts, police said a 56-year-old man shot and killed his wife and their 12-year-old son inside their home early Thursday before turning the weapon on himself.
Andover police said they found Andrew Robinson, his wife, 55-year-old Linda Robinson, and their son Sebastian dead inside the home on Porter Road after receiving a 911 call at 3:20 a.m.
“The wounds were from gunshot,” Police Chief Patrick Keefe said. “We know the how. Now we are trying to figure out the why.”
In just the past few weeks in the state, three young children were strangled to death in Duxbury, and their mother, Lindsay Clancy, has been charged in their deaths. On Jan. 29, 13-year-old Tyler Lawrence was shot dead as he walked near his grandparents’ home in Mattapan. A 34-year-old man with an extensive criminal past has been charged with the boy’s murder.
And a Cohasset man has been charged with the murder of his wife, Ana Walshe, who went missing from their home on Jan. 1.
As authorities sought answers in the Andover killings, Linda Robinson’s father, Joseph Hachey, said his daughter was successful as an accountant and a model. His grandson, Sebastian, was “an angel,” he said.
“He’s with his grandmother now,” Hachey said from the living room of his Lynn home on Thursday, as he picked up a photo of his wife, Claudette, who died in 2020.
Dozens of family photos were on display in his home, some showing Sebastian as a baby and toddler.
Hachey’s half-brothers, Roger and David Arsenault, sat at a kitchen table nearby. Roger Arsenault said he watched Linda grow up.
“She was just a great person; gentle, loving, beautiful,” he said, and David Arsenault described her “as angelic as they come.”
Authorities declined to say who called 911. But on dispatch recordings posted online, a man can be heard during the call saying “Kill me now!”
The dispatcher alerted an officer about the issue at the house, the recording indicated.
“Unknown problem,” the dispatcher said. “Male screaming in the background. You can hear things being smashed.”
The dispatcher said an owner of the home had a license to carry firearms that expired last February. The dispatcher said the owner was last known to have two guns, the recording indicated.
The first officer to arrive said no one inside the home was answering, and he asked the dispatcher to try to speak with the caller again. Moments later, a second officer who had gone to the rear of the house called for medical assistance.
“Roll an ambulance, please,” he said. “It looks like there’s somebody on the floor in the back. Make entry.”
Police had to breach two doors to get inside, officials said.
Keefe said his department had not responded to the home before Thursday morning.
In Lynn, Linda Robinson’s father and uncles said she led a private life. They had rarely seen her or her family since the pandemic.
“They went out and bought a big freezer and filled it with food, they hooked up the house with electrical generators,” Hachey said. “No family meetings. I would ask my son, ‘Have you seen your sister?’ And he would say [jokingly], ‘Who?’ Linda went into hibernation.”
In March, Hachey said, his son, Steve, saw the family and shared a photo showing Sebastian and his cousin wearing masks.
A staff member at Channel Building Co. in Wilmington said Andrew Robinson had worked there before leaving the company about six months ago.
The people who work there are “grieving,” he said. He wouldn’t say how long Robinson worked at Channel and declined to comment further.
Sebastian Robinson was in the sixth grade at St. John’s Preparatory School in Danvers, school officials said.
“Our community is heartbroken by the tragic loss of Sebastian,” headmaster Edward Hardiman said at the school Thursday morning. “The circumstances of Sebastian’s death are just extraordinarily tragic.”
“Sebastian was a wonderful young man,” Hardiman said. “He had a kind and gentle presence and was well-loved by his teachers. Extraordinarily creative . . . just a really wonderful kid with a great nature.”
The school canceled classes Thursday and Friday. St. John’s, a private grade 6 to 12 Catholic school, held a 5 p.m. prayer service at the its wellness center.
An American flag outside the center flew at half-staff as hundreds of students dressed in school blazers, many accompanied by their parents, arrived for the service.
“It is impossible to make sense of what happened,” Hardiman said at the start of the service, which was livestreamed on the school’s Facebook page. “We are powerless to change anything that has happened, but we each possess a tremendous power to walk with each other ... Now is the time for that bond, that connection, to shine as a beacon of support, love, and hope for each other.”
Michael Driscoll, the middle school campus minister, read reflections of administrators and teachers of “Sebastian Robinson, class of 2029,” according to a copy of the program.
After the service, some students said they were grateful for the opportunity to come together on campus.
“It felt like a lot of people cared about him, just like me,” said 12-year-old Brendan Bansfield, a classmate, who said he did not know Sebastian well. “I did see a few of his friends. … There were a lot of people that, of course, cared.”
Senior Rawson Iwanicki of Andover said he lives “about 2 miles away from the Robinson family.”
He said the vigil helped him “just to understand that everyone is there for each other, and that we’re part of such a strong community. If we face tragedy like this, we know how to handle it and how to move on.”
Neighbors said they woke up in the early-morning hours to the blaring of a security alarm from the Robinson home, a nearly 6,000-square-foot Colonial built in 2002.
Janean Sullivan said she woke up her husband, Andy, and called the police. A dispatcher told them officers were already there.
The couple lives nearby with their three daughters and have a mostly clear view of the back of the Robinson home. Andy Sullivan said he could see flashlights shining through dark windows as officers moved through the house.
“We didn’t know if it was a break-in but I just knew something bad happened,” Janean Sullivan said.
Residents said that the neighborhood is quiet and close-knit but that the Robinsons were more private.
“I think this stuff can just happen anywhere,” Janean Sullivan said. “Massachusetts has had it pretty hard right now with national news coverage, mental illness, and deaths. It’s very, very scary.”
Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker said he wanted to recognize the demands placed on emergency responders when they encounter scenes of terrible violence.
“We only need to look back in the last couple of weeks in Massachusetts, some of the difficult things” they confront, he said. “We’re always concerned about their well-being.”
Tucker stressed that anyone suffering from mental illness should seek help.
“I would like to make sure that people know that this entire situation was contained within the address here,” Tucker said. “I think this is also a very good time to remind folks if they are suffering any type of mental health issues, any type of depression, there are services out there.”
Jeremiah Manion and Shannon Larson of the Globe staff and correspondents Jeremy C. Fox and Claire Law contributed to this report.
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