FREDERICKSON, Wash. – New details were released Tuesday afternoon in the tragic case where a Pierce County father shot and killed his wife and two young children before taking his own life.
Pierce County sheriff’s detectives say the father, identified as Clinton Field, 29, was an Air Force airman who had been stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord for about a year and had recently returned from deployment in South Korea.
Detectives also say the father at one point in his past threatened suicide – and family troubles may also have been an issue.
Many neighbors told Q13 News they didn’t see the family very often, adding they seemed to keep to themselves. Neighbors said the peace and quite inside their Frederickson neighborhood changed when folks living nearby heard gunfire at about 1 a.m. Tuesday.
“The pressures of life,” said neighbor Joy Ballew.
“I don’t ever want to experience having to bury a child,” said the former property owner, Daine Patton. “It breaks my heart for those kids.”
“It’s like just completely shocking,” added neighbor Brandon Weant.
Pierce County sheriff’s deputies say the father killed his entire family and then himself inside their home on 209th Street East near the Frederickson community.
“It’s a tragedy -- that’s all you can really say,” said Jeff Donaldson, who lives nearby.
By Tuesday afternoon, the county medical examiner’s office identified the family.
Investigators say the mother, 33-year-old Samantha Field and her two children – 4-year-old Ava and a 2-year-old Ashen – were all shot to death in their own beds early Tuesday morning.
Police say the father, Clinton Field, then texted his out-of-state family about what he had done before calling 911. Investigators said he told dispatchers he planned to kill himself.
Officers arrived to their home and found everyone inside dead.
Investigators have learned the couple may have been facing a possible divorce, and the father and has had prior mental health issues.
“He had a past incident that mentioned suicide so he may have been being treated for that,” said sheriff's Detective Ed Troyer.
Neighbors said the family kept to themselves for the past year since moving in. Now some wonder what could have been done to avoid the tragedy.
“I think it’s horrifying,” said Patton. “It’s tragic that there’s really there’s ex-military, or current military, that’s hurting so bad that when things don’t process in their brains properly, that they’re left with an option of killing their family.”
Sheriff’s deputies told Q13 News they had not been called to the Field family house before for any incidents, and that the family has no known history of domestic violence.