RISING SUN, Md. (WJZ) — A 7-year-old child was shot and killed in what appeared to be a murder-suicide Sunday afternoon.

Cecil County Sheriff’s deputies, Maryland State Police troopers and Town of Rising Sun police officers responded to the 1100 block of Ridge Road in Rising Sun around 3:30 p.m. They found 7-year-old Mason Holcombe dead inside a residence at the scene. Officials said the child had trauma consistent with gunshot wounds.

Also found at the scene was a 33-year-old man with a gunshot wound, according to police. He was taken by helicopter to Shock Trauma where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Investigators said Joshua Holcombe was the father of the child.

“Any time it involves a child, it’s extremely difficult,” said Lt. Michael Holmes with the Cecil County Sheriff’s Office.

According to a preliminary investigation, police say there was a disturbance inside the home before the shooting. When the incident occurred, there were three other family members, including two adults and a young child, present.

Police are now trying to learn more about what happened from the surviving witnesses.

“They did observe the incident where the male shot the child multiple times and then turned the gun on himself and shot himself,” Holmes said.

Officials described a disagreement that broke out before the shooting. Mason had nothing to do with it and was an innocent victim, Holmes said.

Justin Holcombe, who identifies himself as Joshua’s older brother, called the shooting “a bad dream: and said his brother was a great father who loved his kids.

“This is the last thing I want to be doing right now. But as I wake up wishing it was all a bad dream I’m confronted with the news and social media about the unfathomable tragedy that my family is trying to deal with right now. My little brother adored his children and his family. He was the best father I’ve ever seen. None of this makes any sense,” Justin Holcombe said in a Facebook post. “I beg some of you… cause there’s always a few… to please, please refrain from spilling your uninformed opinions all over social media.”

“We are all completely baffled and our centers are fractured at their cores. I honestly don’t know what is even real anymore. I need time. My family needs time,” Holcombe continued. “Please allow the dust to settle and for us to get the closest thing to the truth that we can get before stories are told and theories are developed. We simply can’t understand why. It doesn’t make any sense.”

The sheriff’s office said Mason Holcombe did not attend Cecil County Public Schools and instead went to a school just over the border in Pennsylvania. Mason had previously attended Cecil County Public Schools but was currently enrolled in a private school in Chester County, Pennsylvania for the current school year.

Rising Sun is a quiet, rural Maryland community.

An autopsy showed Mason died from multiple gunshot wounds. Joshua only had one gunshot wound.

A handgun was located inside the residence and police have seized it.

Officials were unable to comment on whether law enforcement had been called to the home previously, citing the ongoing investigation.

Rachel Menitoff

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