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Police: Man kills son, wounds wife; kills self

A central Pennsylvania father shot and killed his 2-year-old son and wounded his estranged wife during a custody exchange before killing himself, authorities said.

The police said Kenneth Ayers also shot at his mother during the altercation Saturday morning at her home in a rural area about 20 miles southwest of State College.

Huntingdon County District Attorney George Zanic
said Ayers, 52, was subject to a protection from abuse order filed by his wife but was permitted visits with his son,
Michael. Saturday’s visit was to happen at his mother’s home in Barree Township.

But once at the home, Ayers got into an altercation with his estranged wife, Hollie Jo, and shot her in the legs and arm with a .40 caliber handgun before intentionally shooting his son, the police said.

Kenneth Ayers placed the child’s body in the back of his vehicle but the wounded woman retrieved the body before Ayers shot her again in the face, the police said. He also fired at his mother but missed.

“Words can’t describe the scene . . . heartbreaking,” Zanic told The (Altoona) Mirror outside the home.

Kenneth Ayers’s body was found several hours later in his parked truck in a wooded area in Warriors Mark Township. Investigators said he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Hollie Jo Ayers was transported to a hospital and expected to survive, according to the police. State police Cpl. Daniel Sneath said investigators are trying to determine what led to the shooting and why Ayers was carrying a gun despite the protection order.

The police will also seek
an autopsy to determine whether Kenneth Ayers was under the influence.

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