Authorities say a man fatally shot his wife on the front lawn of their home, before turning the gun on himself — but their three children are safe.

The Bergen County Prosecutor's Office says 45-year-old Scott Sabia shot and killed his 44-year-old wife, Michele, outside their Carlstadt home Wednesday evening.

After the shooting prosecutors say Sabia barricaded himself inside the home. The couple's three young children, ages 14, 11 and 9, were inside at the time, but managed to escape. They were not injured.

“It could have been far, far worse a tragedy,” Bergen County’s acting prosecutor, Gurbir S. Grewal, said at the scene, according to a report by

According to that report, police arrived shortly after 6 p.m., after Scott Sabia shot Michele on the lawn of their home. A standoff with Scott Sabia ended after 10 p.m., when a SWAT team that had surrounded the house went inside and found Scott Sabia's body dead, with a gunshot wound.

Grewal told reporters at the scene police had trying unsuccessfully for about an hour to contact Scott Sabia, according to that and other reports. It quoted neighbors saying the couple had split up, but recently gotten back together.

Scott Sabia lists himself as "separated" on his Facebook page.

Tax records show the couple had owned the home since 2012.

Neighboring homes were evacuated during the standoff. It's unclear what led to the shooting.

"This is a family neighborhood," David Doyle, who lives in an apartment nearby, told NJ Advance Media. "It's a very, very quiet neighborhood."

Michele Sabia worked as a teacher in Rutherford. In a statement Wednesday, Superintendent of Schools Jack Hurley and Washington School Principal Bill Mulcahy acknowledged the death, and said counselors would be available at Washington School Thursday and Friday for faculty, staff, parents, and students.

"We mourn the tragic loss of our colleague, teacher, and friend Michele Sabia. ...
Please keep Ms. Sabia’s children, family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers," the statement said.

— With reports from the Associated Press

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