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Roy couple, 2 young children shot to death in their home

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As far as the family is concerned, we’ve had no priors at this house before with either of the individuals. We’ve never been to the address for any reason for the police department. This is a very quiet family. There’s no indication they’ve ever fought before. Just kind of keep to themselves. – Roy Police Lt. Kevin Smith

ROY — A Roy couple and their two young children were found dead inside their home on Father's Day in an apparent triple murder-suicide.

Family members made the horrific discovery about 10 p.m. Sunday, finding the bodies of Russell Smith, his wife, Shawna Smith, and their two children, 6-year-old Tylee and 2-year-old Blake.

"Shawna is a wonderful, loving mother. She's my daughter and she's my heart. And my babies … they didn't deserve this, they didn't deserve this," an emotional Sheila Pruitt, Shawna Smith's mother, said in tears Monday.

Roy police said it appears the father shot his wife and children before killing himself.

"Our preliminary investigation shows that the cause of death is from gunshots. Russell's gunshot wound looks to be self-inflicted," said Roy Police Lt. Kevin Smith. "At this point it looks like a murder-suicide situation. We're not looking for anybody else at this point and time."

Neighbors say what makes the tragedy even more mysterious is that the Smiths were nice and polite and had no history of domestic violence. Police say they had never been called to the house before.

"As far as the family is concerned, we've had no priors at this house before with either of the individuals. We've never been to the address for any reason for the police department," the lieutenant said. "This is a very quiet family. There's no indication they've ever fought before. Just kind of keep to themselves."

Police did not release many details about the crime scene Monday, including where in the house the bodies were found or whether there were any signs of a struggle. Whether any kind of note was left was still being investigated, said Smith, who is not related to the family.

A family member last had contact with Shawna Smith about 1 p.m. Sunday through a text message, according to the lieutenant. After not hearing from her the rest of the day, he went to their house, 2106 W. 4750 South, that evening and found the family dead.

Neighbors said they could heard screams coming from the home upon the discovery. But police say neighbors did not hear any gunshots or fighting before that.

Pruitt said her daughter and son-in-law had been together for a long time.

"I don't know what happened," she said in a very soft voice.

Tylee was about to enter first grade in the fall and loved dance and softball, Pruitt recalled. She remembered Blake as "so happy and loving and sweet."

A woman who lives across the street from the Smiths, who asked not to be identified, described the family as very caring, loving, "great people" who would always ask her how they could help out.

"It's hard to believe that we won't see them again. We exchanged gifts at Christmas and they'd come over and talk to us when we went anywhere and asked us to take care of their house," she said. "Very very shocking to hear this."

Commenting on the Smiths' daughter, she said, "Tylee was absolutely a doll. She had red curly hair. Darling, absolutely adorable."

Shawna Smith worked as the assistant director at Busy Bee Playhouse, a preschool/day care close to her home, according to her Facebook page. A preschool administrator said she had been there for nine years. Smith graduated from Northridge High School in Layton.

Friends left messages of remembrance on her Facebook page Monday.

"Oh Shawna, my heart is broken. The world lost a beautiful family today. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your remaining extended family," wrote one person.

"Sweet girl, may you and your babies rest in peace," wrote another.

Russell Smith's Facebook page said he worked at L-3 Communications, a contractor in aerospace systems and a provider of communication and electronic systems. But the company said he was a former employee.

"This is a tragic situation and we extend our deepest sympathies and heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of the deceased. If requested, we will cooperate fully with local authorities in their investigation," the company said in a prepared statement.

A spokeswoman for L-3 declined to say how recently Smith had worked for them.

The house still had a single strand of yellow police tape across the yard Monday, although the investigation was apparently complete.

A stream of curious neighbors continued to walk by the house throughout the day. Many said they only saw the family once in a while but none of them seemed to knew the family well. One couple described the family as "nice" and "polite," noting that they always waved "hello" and smiled whenever they walked by.

The house has two vehicles in the driveway and a white vinyl fence adjacent to the Roy High School parking lot, with a trampoline in the backyard.

The murder-suicide was the second along the Wasatch Front this month involving a significant other and children.

On June 7, Jamie Lynn Salazar, 34, and her son, Jordan Reeves, 2, were shot and killed by Salazar's fiancé, Johnathon Reeves, 30, who then shot and killed himself in their Murray home.

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting the YWCA, Women in Jeopardy, 801-537-8600 or the Domestic Violence Hotline, 800-897-LINK.

Contributing: Mike Anderson

Email: preavy@deseretnews.com, Twitter: DNewsCrimeTeam