57-year-old New Jersey man named Peter Ventricelli fatally shot his wife, Kellie, 58, and son, Anthony, 15 before turning the gun on himself. Authorities discovered the three bodies during a welfare visit to their Roxbury Township house on March 7, 2023. The same has been confirmed in a press release by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
Authorities are yet to reveal the motive behind the apparent murder-suicide. A GoFundMe campaign was launched a day ago by relatives to meet the funeral expenses of Peter Ventricelli and his family. The campaign aimed at raising $50,000 and has already raised over $58,000.
Peter Ventricelli shot his wife and son and then turned the gun on himself in the apparent murder-suicide
On Tuesday, March 7, a gruesome and horrific discovery was made during a welfare check at a house in Roxbury Township. After a friend was unable to reach the residents of the house, police were requested to conduct a welfare check. This was when officers discovered three dead bodies sustaining gunshot wounds inside the house.
Authorities soon identified the dead bodies as Peter Ventricelli, his wife, Kellie, and his son, Anthony. According to the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, the tragic incident took place during the “early morning hours.” They further mentioned the incident as a case of murder-suicide.
Robert J. Carroll, the Morris County Prosecutor, said:
“This is a tragic murder-suicide brought on by domestic violence. It is a heartbreaking loss for the Ventricelli family. Neighbors, schoolmates, friends, and the Roxbury community as a whole are mourning this shocking and senseless loss of life. We ask that citizens exercise their discretion and compassion while discussing the situation on social media.”
Police are yet to confirm a solid motive behind the killings. However, they believe that private contractor Peter Ventricelli first fatally fired at Kellie and Anthony and then shot himself to death. Police also revealed that they had never received calls from the Ventricelli family before.
A neighbor named Larry Worobec mentioned that the family did not seem to be in any kind of trouble. Worobec further added that there was “not a word. No arguing. No fights. No nothing.”
Noting that the murder-suicide as "a domestic violence incident, Morris County Sheriff James Gannon stated:
“It’s the most tragic type of domestic violence. We’ve looked at the scene and have made the determination that this is a domestic violence incident. Not all of them are reported to the police as they escalate in behavior.”
Roxbury Public Schools, where Anthony used to go, uploaded a post on Facebook, saying:
“It is with a heavy heart that we share the devastating news of the loss of one of our high school students. The high school administration and staff have coordinated support and resources for students and staff who may need them. Please keep all those involved in your heart, thoughts, and prayers.”
A neighbor spoke to a media outlet about Peter Ventricelli’s son Anthony, and said:
“[Anthony was] one of the nicest kids ever who always did what he could to help others.”
A GoFundMe fundraiser post claimed that the tragic incident would negatively impact the family business
Anthony’s friends mourned the loss of the 15-year-old. Many took to Facebook to express their condolences. One of his friends, Nelli Bee, wrote:
“My phone alerted me on a newsbreak. All I saw was Justine Place (a constant address on Christmas cards we received of years past) and read the tragic story.”
Another friend named Shawn Taylor wrote:
“No words right now, just heartbreak and tears. I will remember all of the good times and memories we all shared together. RIP Anthony and Kellie Voorhees-Ventricelli. Please pray for this whole family right now during this difficult time.”
As mentioned before, the GoFundMe campaign was launched by Peter Ventrocelli’s nephew, Carlo, who wrote:
“Due to the shock of this sudden loss, our family is not prepared for the financial responsibilities that come along with the handling of funeral expenses and other costs… To be open and honest, this will be for three burials and all costs involved with trying to lay the entire family to rest. The third one will be for my uncle, Peter Ventricelli.”
The GoFundMe fundraiser further talked about how the family business will be impacted by the tragic incident and how funds raised will go to Carlos’ grandparents as well.
Jim Rilee, the Mayor of Roxbury Township, addressed the incident and said:
“We urge everyone to keep the victims and their families in their thoughts and prayers. We also wish to recognize and commend our Roxbury Police, as well as the Offices of the Morris County Sheriff and Prosecutor, and other assisting law enforcement agencies as they continue their investigation. The Township stands ready to assist in any way we can.”
Authorities revealed that the entire community is not in danger at large. A prayer service to honor Peter Ventricelli’s family has been scheduled for Sunday at 7 pm at St. Therese Catholic Church in Succasunna.