It’s a given that not everyone was happy President Obama was re-elected Tuesday night but one Virginia man took his paranoia about four more years under the Commander-in-Chief’s leadership to the extreme when he murdered his wife and kids, and then took his own life Tuesday afternoon.
According to a preliminary investigation from police, all of the victims died of gunshot wounds to the upper body. Albert Peterson, 57, a wealthy defense contractor reportedly shot his wife Kathleen, 52, who worked for Blackbird Technologies, a company that specializes in defense, law enforcement and intelligence work, and their sons Matthew, 16, and Christopher, 13, then shot himself as well.
As tragic as that news is itself, it’s even more peculiar that the motive for the killings appears to be the impending doom Peterson thought awaited his family and the entire country if Obama was re-elected. Despite Peterson’s success, a family friend who only wanted to be identified as “Maggie,” told the Daily Mail Online that the business man continued to be haunted by demons from his past.
“He’s had difficulty his whole life,” Maggie said. “He had a rough time with paranoia.”
At a young age, Maggie said, both his father and his uncle committed suicide.
“His dad suffered from alopecia and it was something he couldn’t live with,” Maggie said.
After Mr Peterson’s Uncle John killed himself, Maggie said that both Petersons were unnerved as they had frequently sent their children to his home to spend time with him.
“When Uncle John died, [Mr Peterson] kicked himself and said ‘God, what would have happened if our sons were there when it happened?’” Maggie recalled.
Thinking back on the eerie precursor, Maggie is still dumbfounded.
“It just never crossed our minds,” she said.
Mr Peterson’s life was punctuated by bouts of paranoia that became so severe, he wallowed in his depression, gained weight, and contemplated taking his own life.
In one dark episode, after his mother died five years ago, his wife had to pull him from the brink of suicide.
“Kathie was a strong person and she probably put her foot down, like she did five years ago,” Maggie said. ‘Kathie couldn’t believe the way he was acting and how he thought.’
“She wanted to be out doing something – biking, hiking, tubing and I know that frustrated Al. She just wanted to be living life and he took that from her,” she said.
Maggie said that this spring, Mr Peterson lost his Uncle Bill to an infection, whom he looked up to as the family patriarch. “He felt like there was no one left in his family,” Maggie said.
As if that weren’t enough, Peterson recently began sending paranoid emails to family and friends on a daily basis about Tuesday’s election.
“I got emails and the emails stopped all of a sudden last week,” Maggie said. “He felt that our God-given rights were being taken away. He didn’t like where the country was going.”
Mr Peterson, also mentioned pressures at work that troubled Maggie.
Explaining his increasingly erratic behavior, she said: ‘He said he wanted to expose something at work. He also got the impression at work, that if they didn’t vote for Obama and get him elected, they would lose their jobs,”
“We don’t know. Maybe she put her foot down Sunday night and told him “Al get it together,”‘ Maggie said, noting that both Kathleen and Albert had security clearances.
“When Al was here last time, he was pretty worked up,” Maggie said. “They were very well off people and they saved a lot of money. He couldn’t understand how the government could be so irresponsible and he thought it would be on the backs of his boys.”
Police noted that Peterson did seem to be unusually passionate about politics, but they are hesitant to say Obama’s re-election prompted these murders.
“We don’t know the motive in this tragic case,” Lucy Caldwell of the Fairfax Police Department said.
“We are aware that the father had strong political opinions but cannot speculate as to how those opinions related to this case. We will, most likely, never know exactly why this occurred.”
It’s so unfortunate when the threat of going from having it all to losing it all causes this type of reaction.