Dad Kills Son, Self, Shoots Wife in "Gruesome" Murder-Suicide: Police

By Kelly Bayliss
|  Saturday, Sep 7, 2013  |  Updated 6:18 AM EDT
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The wife is the only survivor in a family murder-suicide in Philadelphia's Juniata neighborhood.

NBC10- Lu Ann Cahn

The wife is the only survivor in a family murder-suicide in Philadelphia's Juniata neighborhood.

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Friends are puzzled as to what could have led a man they describe as a "nice guy" to kill his son and shoot his wife before turning the gun on himself.

Police say a domestic dispute led to the murder-suicide inside a row home on the 3800-block of I Street in Juniata. Investigators described the scene inside the home as "gruesome." 

They say it was here that 48-year-old Bob Harkins shot and killed his 10-year-old son Jake while he lay sleeping in bed, and shot his wife, Jessie, twice in the back of the head before killing himself.

"He loved him to pieces, Jake was his everything," said Jean Harris, friend, who was stunned to hear the news.

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Authorities say they received a call around 12:30 a.m. about a man with a gun inside the home. When officers arrived, they heard four gunshots.

Police rushed into the home where the found the man's wife, alive, on the steps, the boy dead in his bed and the man dead on the floor next to him with a gun nearby.

"It's a good thing they went in when they did 'cause they found this 41-year-old female victim who was still alive, bleeding profusely from two gunshot wounds to the back of her head..." Small said.

NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn did some digging into court records and found that Bob Harkins had a troubled past.

He'd been arrested numerous times between 1985 and 2009 and most of the charges he was found guilty of involved driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

In 2002, he was arrested for a violation of a protection from violence order, but it was withdrawn.

Jessie Harkins is in stable condition at Temple University Hospital. Police are talking to her about what happened.

Two other family members who were inside at the time of the shooting are also talking with police.

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