Florida police warned against jumping to conclusions about the apparent murder-suicide of a Palm Beach mother who apparently killed her two teenage children before turning the gun on herself.
Authorities confirmed that Jennifer Berman seemingly gunned down her own children, but urged the public against rushing to judgment about what may have happened, according to local television reports.
“What we have to be cautious of is not to rush to judgment as to how they died. And that is why we wait for the medical examiner,” West Palm Beach Police spokesman David Lefont said.
Police have released the chilling 911 calls made from Jewish dad Richard Berman, as he and a neighbor discovered the lifeless bodies of his two children and their mother’s in an apparent murder-suicide in West Palm Beach on Monday.
“It looks like she’s laid in bed but she doesn’t have a face,” the neighbor told the dispatcher of Jennifer Berman, who had apparently shot and killed her two children before taking her own life.
“I was just touching his head,” Richard Berman said after discovering his son’s body. “He wasn’t waking up. His alarm was on, he wasn’t waking up, there’s blood in his ear.”
Family friends and neighbors have told the media that Jennifer Berman had grown unhinged in recent weeks due to long and stressful work hours and financial woes. Her home had been in foreclosure since 2010.
The couple filed for divorce in 2008, but never completed the process and continued to live together until last year, when Jennifer Berman told courts that her ex-husband was emotionally abusive.
Following the divorce, the parents reportedly agreed to share custody over their children, according to the Palm Beach Post. They alternated custody during the holidays and would spend Hanukkah with their father and Christmas with their mother.
The slain teens attended the selective Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. Classmates told the New York Post that Alex was an accomplished cello player while Jacqueline was a straight A student.
Natalia Powers, a representative from the Palm Beach County School District, told the Forward that grief counselors have been present at the school throughout the week. “They will be there as long as necessary,” she said. “Our main goal is to help our students and faculty members deal with this horrible situation.”