A man in Astoria, Queens, is believed to have killed his six-year-old son, the boy’s mother, and his current wife before killing himself in what police believe was a murder-suicide.
The New York Post reports that James Shields is believed to be the gunman behind a fatal shooting in the popular Astoria neighborhood on Monday night, where gun violence is uncommon.
Shields, 39, is believed to have fatally shot his son James Jr., his ex-wife Linda Olthof, and his wife Saskia Shields. All four of the deceased were found in the living room of the apartment, with James Shields found closest to the door, next to a semi-automatic handgun.
Shields and his ex-wife, James Jr.’s mother, had reportedly been battling over custody of their son. In April, Shields launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds, apparently for legal and travel expenses, as Olthof had moved to her native Holland shortly after James, Jr. was born.
“My beautiful son is 6 years old and my ex wife lives in the Netherlands. We were married and because she couldn’t find work as an artist ran back home to Holland after she was pregnant with my son devastating me,” Shields wrote on the campaign page.
“I’ve been spending a fortune to travel there as much as I could when he was a baby. Now that he’s older he expressed he wanted to spend time in the US. This was at the same point I was getting remarried to another Dutch woman who is such a loving and supportive person,” the page says.
“Due to my ex’s extreme jealousy and bitterness she is dragging me through court case after court case to be spiteful … I had the perfect life a few years ago but it has spiraled out of control and I desperately need any help you can provide,” Shields continued.
According to the campaign, which he titled “Child Kidnapping,” Shields was looking to raise $30,000 but did not get any contributions. The campaign page was active as of Tuesday morning but has since been removed.
At the time of the apparent murders, Olthof and her son were visiting the U.S. for two months so that the boy could spend time with his father, the New York Post reports.
[Feature image: James Shields Jr./GoFundMe]