"Our goal is to maintain a sense of normalcy or something as close to that as we can," McCusker said. "Counselors will be available to anyone who needs them."

McCusker said that to his knowledge, Nicholas had not shown any outward signs of distress. "This seems to be a complete shock to everybody," he said.

Tyler Hesselbein, 15, attended Dulaney High School with Nicholas Browning and said they had a Spanish class together. He recalled seeing him on Friday.

"He was acting fine," Hesselbein said. "It's so hard to believe."

Another classmate, Skyler Helffrich, said he was "just a normal kid."

On Saturday night, with police still on the scene, Maurice Bailey, 61, stood at the top of the Brownings' street in disbelief over what had happened a few doors away.

Bailey said his family has lived and owned land in the community for 135 years. He said he had sold the acre lot to Browning to build his home and that "he helped me with the legal work."

"That was a good man," he said. "What the hell happened?"

Police were called about 4:50 p.m. Saturday to the 10900 block of Powers Ave. for a report of cardiac arrest. Nicholas Browning called 911 and said his father was lying on the couch with blood coming out of his nose and was not breathing.

Officers entered the home and discovered John Browning in a ground-floor room, then found the other bodies upstairs. All had been shot in the upper body, Toohey said. There was no sign of a confrontation inside the home.

Word spread through the community as police cruisers flooded the street, and about a dozen neighbors stood across from the home, many embracing and in tears.

Toohey said Nicholas Browning, who was initially misidentified as a 17-year-old, was interviewed at a police precinct and confessed to the crime. He was placed under arrest shortly after 1 a.m. and taken to the Baltimore County Detention Center, where he was charged as an adult with four counts of first-degree murder and denied bail by a District Court commissioner.

The teenager is scheduled to appear before a judge this morning for a formal bail review hearing.

justin.fenton@baltsun.com Due to incorrect information given to The Sun, Gregory Browning's age was misstated when this article was published in the print edition. The Sun regrets the error.