Neighbor murders woman, shoots her grandchildren and dog, then turns gun on himself

Do Not Cross! by David von Diemar is licensed under Unsplash
SPRINGFIELD, MA – Officials from the Hampden District Attorney’s Office shared details on an unsettling murder-suicide that played out this week at an apartment complex in Springfield, which left a 52-year-old woman killed and two of her grandchildren non-fatally injured by gunfire.

On August 14th at approximately 2:40 p.m., Springfield Police were dispatched to an apartment located off of 174 Berkshire Avenue in response to reports of gunfire. Once officers arrived on the scene, they reportedly found the body of 34-year-old Victor Nieves as well as 52-year-old Kim Fairbanks.

Officers reportedly discovered three children at the residence, ages five, 10, and 12, two of whom had been non-fatally shot, as well as a family dog that had been shot. Reports indicate the 10-year-old and 12-year-old, both girls, were the ones shot during the original incident. The 10-year-old was listed as being in critical condition as of August 15th, whereas the 12-year-old was last listed as being stable. 

According to officials, the deceased gunman, Nieves, carried out some kind of murder-suicide, but details as to the motivation have not been shared by authorities as of this writing.

Nieves had apparently resided in the apartment above the victims' residence, gaining access to the victims’ home via forcible entry and opening fire on the victims before fatally shooting himself.

Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni shared a statement regarding the disturbing case, extending condolences to family and loved ones of the victims. “I remain deeply saddened by this tragic attack, and I am profoundly sorry for these children and their family members," he said.

"This is unequivocally one of the most heinous and cowardly acts to which I’ve had to bear witness as District Attorney. My heart goes out to the parents of these children and the family and loved ones of Ms. Fairbanks.”

Springfield Police Superintendent Cheryl Clapprood shared similar sentiments to that of the Hampden County DA, calling the murder-suicide “an absolute tragedy” while also commending responding officers for how quickly they acted on ensuring the young surviving victims received aid.

“This is an absolute tragedy," she said, "and I am praying for this family. In my forty-plus years at the Springfield Police Department, this is one of the most heart-wrenching incidents I can remember. I am extremely proud of my officers who were the first responders that were able to get these children to Baystate as rapidly as they did. We are holding a debriefing for those officers and will provide any support that we can because most officers won’t have to encounter a scene like that in their entire career.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno noted in a released statement that he’d spoken to the mother of the young victims in the case, referring to the incident as a “unprovoked and despicable attack.”

The Springfield mayor expressed his “sympathy to the loss of the children’s grandmother, Kim Fairbanks,” and reiterated his disgust with the deceased gunman by rhetorically asking, “What would possess someone to do such a hideous crime to an innocent hardworking family?”

Officials haven’t shared any additional details as of this writing, noting that the investigation remains ongoing.
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