A Bedford, N.H., mother shot and killed her two young daughters, then probably turned the gun on herself in an apparent murder-suicide that has deeply shaken the community and puzzled investigators.
The bodies of Nina Obukhov, 34, and her daughters, Katherine, 8, and Elizabeth, 6, were found in their home on McAfee Farm Road Saturday with gunshot wounds to the head, according to the office of New Hampshire Attorney General Joseph Foster.
“We believe the mother shot her children and shot herself,” Assistant Attorney General Jay McCormack said in an interview Monday night. “That’s what we’re focusing on.”
The state medical examiner determined the girls’ deaths were homicides but is still investigating how Nina Obukhov died, McCormack said. The investigation will continue, and police are trying to determine the circumstances, he said.
“We’re going to continue to investigate why this occurred. . . . Why did this mother shoot her children?” he said.
The girls were in kindergarten and third grade, respectively, at the Riddle Brook Elementary School. Counselors and psychologists were available to students Monday, Bedford Schools Superintendent Chip McGee said.
“Everyone there is pulling together, and that helps,” McGee said in a telephone interview.
The school has also been heartened by “how many people in the community, beyond Bedford, have offered to help today,” McGee added.
He declined to comment further.
Nina Obukhov was the wife of Alexey Obukhov, McCormack said.
Alexey Obukhov, part owner of a Merrimack-based gun shop called Collectible Arms & Ammo, placed a 911 call to Bedford police Saturday morning after discovering his wife’s body inside the home, McCormack said.
Police quickly converged on the spacious red-brick Colonial-style home and discovered the two children’s bodies, authorities said.
McCormack was not sure if Nina Obukhov was licensed to carry a concealed weapon in New Hampshire. State law does not require a license for a person to carry a weapon that is not concealed, he noted.
McCormack declined to comment further.
State public records show the Obukhovs had domestic issues and legal problems.
Alexey Obukhov was arrested on Aug. 24, 2013, on allegations of domestic assault against his wife, and police confiscated arms and ammunition from the family’s home, according to state court papers.
The charges against Obukhov were dropped after his wife would not testify, and the guns and ammunition were later returned to the home, the papers state.
Alexey then applied to Bedford police for a license to carry a concealed weapon. But Bedford Police Chief John J. Bryfonski denied the application, determining that Alexey was “an unsuitable person to possess a license to carry a concealed weapon,” according to the court documents.
Bryfonski declined to comment Monday on the apparent murder-suicide.
Obukhov appealed the chief’s denial, and during a Nov. 5, 2013, trial court hearing, the chief cited the wife’s statements to police that she had been assaulted by her husband, as well as photographs of her injuries, as reasons for denying Obukhov’s application. The court upheld the denial.
Obukhov filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court, which reversed the lower court’s ruling on Nov. 20 of last year.
The court said the evidence did not support a determination that Alexey was “unsuitable” to be licensed to carry a concealed weapon.
Alexey’s gun shop drew national attention in 2013 when it covered a window with a picture of President Obama, calling him “the Firearms Salesman of the Year,” alongside pictures of Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Zedong. The pictures remain in the window.
Kathy McCabe can be reached at katherine. firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @GlobeKMcCabe.