You can help the 3 Carlstadt kids whose dad ‘snapped,’ killed mom and himself
Yellow tape was still up on Union Avenue in Carlstadt the morning after an apparent-murder-suicide on Wednesday night that left three young children without their parents.
Acting Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir S. Grewal said Scott Sabia, 45, fatally shot his wife Michele, 44, on the front lawn of their home before later turning the gun on himself on Wednesday night. Scott Sabia released the couple's 3 children age 14, 11 and 9 before going back into the home.
The Daily Voice of Rutherford reported police helped the children get away from the home by helping them over a fence.
"It was the responding officers who came to the scene initially and were able to remove the children from the area around the house and bring them to safety, and they should be commended for that. This tragedy could have been far, far worse, given the young ages of the children involved here," Grewal said at a press conference on Wednesday night, according to ABC 7.
Grewal said it's not clear what led to the shooting. Neither Grewal's office nor Carlstadt Police returned messages and phone calls placed Thursday.
Scott Sabia's Facebook page has several posts in referencing mental health support organizations and depression support. A cousin, Geri Sabia, 72, told New Jersey Advance Media Scott Sabia suffered from depression and seemingly "snapped."
"Depression is a bad thing. It comes and goes," Geri Sabia, who lives down the street, said "This time it stayed."
Neighbor Laura Torres told New Jersey 101.5 said she was not aware of anything that may have triggered Wednesday's murder-suicide.
"Only those that were in the house probably know why he went on such a rampage. The only ones there were his wife and kids," Torres said, adding that their grandmother lives next door.
Geri Sabia also told NJ Advance Media Michele was a good mother.
"She took care of her kids, took care of her family," Geri Sabia told the news site. She said Scott and Michele each owned a rife they used to hunt pheasant and turkeys.
Grewal did not disclose what weaponry was used in the killings.
Torres said that Michele Sabia was a "very nice lady" and a devout Christian woman. She described Michele Sabia as simple and humble, and said they'd spoken at a few neighborhood parties.
Torres said her grand children and the Sabia children played soccer and softball together.
Torres said her granddaughter, who is the same age as the Sabias' daughter, was afraid to go to her summer school class on Thursday. Torres said she told her granddaughter "nothing's going to happen. Everything's okay. Everything's back to normal."
Schools also called let parents know counseling in Rutherford schools where Michele Sabia was a teacher would be available.
A GoFundMe.com page was created by Joseph Bisone to help members of the Sabia family raise the couple's three children Torres identified as Connor, their oldest boy and his brother Kyle.
"Michele Sabia's brother is a long-standing member of our union, PBA Local 232, as a detective in the Hudson County Prosecutor's Office. Our involvement, with this case, is fundraising only to mitigate the overwhelming costs the detective and the family will incur from care of the three children that remain behind," Bisone said in an email. "The overwhelming thanks from our law enforcement family, to all of those who contribute to this worthy cause can not be expressed enough."
"As the family copes with the overwhelming grief of the loss, the mounting costs surrounding the family are difficult to absorb," Bisone wrote on the GoFundMe page.
Carlstadt Police Chief Nielsen posted a message of condolences on the department's Facebook page. He also thanked the community for its cooperation and outpouring of support during the incident.
Rutherford Public Schools posted a message of condolence on their district website.
"We mourn the tragic loss of our colleague, teacher, and friend Michele Sabia," read a statement signed by superintendent Jack Hurley and Washington School principal Bill Mulcahy. "Please keep Ms. Sabia’s children, family, and friends in your thoughts and prayers.
In a separate post on the school's Facebook page was the message, "Our prayers and thoughts are with Mrs.Sabia's family and children! May she rest in peace,she was an amazing teacher and person! Always in our hearts!"
Counseling will be available at the Washington School from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday and Friday for faculty, staff, parents and students.
Rutherford Mayor Joe DeSalvo expressed "deep condolences" to Michele's family and friends on his Facebook page.