By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun
7:09 PM EDT, August 24, 2013
A Dundalk man shot and injured his newly married daughter early Saturday morning before killing his wife and himself after a barricade situation at their home, Baltimore County police said.
Police identified the man as James W. Burnham, 51, his wife as Terri Burnham, 47, and their daughter as Shannon Nicklas, 25.
Nicklas was married last weekend, neighbors said, but just days later she was in the hospital recovering from a gunshot wound.
Police said that at 3:30 a.m., a number of people had been playing cards and drinking in the house in the 8200 block of Kavanagh Road when the couple went upstairs. After Nicklas heard a noise, she went up to check on them.
The people remaining downstairs heard a shot and Nicklas fled the house wounded, along with the others, police said. Nicklas was taken to Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center.
A tactical team arrived at the house and tried to reach James Burnham, known as "Reds" in the neighborhood, by phone. Neighbors, awakened by the flash of police lights in the street and alley behind the house, described the house surrounded by officers with guns drawn. Police called out by loudspeaker, urging him to pick up, they said.
Getting no response after two and a half hours, the tactical officers entered the house, which stands at the end of a row next to an alley and has a pool in the back.
Inside, they found the man and his wife dead, police said. Terri Burnham had suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and James Burnham's wounds appeared to be self-inflicted, according to police.
Police said they also found a man who had been in the basement and apparently was asleep. He was unharmed.
Michael French Jr., 42, said he watched from his back porch as police led away a man wearing only his underwear in handcuffs. Baltimore County police spokesman Shawn Vinson said that was likely a precautionary measure.
Vinson said the couple had domestic problems, but did not elaborate.
French, who said he had lived in the neighborhood his entire life, described the Burnhams as "a quiet family."
"There was never any problems or nothing," he added. "I've talked to them all the time."
Detectives continued to investigate at the house Saturday morning. An enlarged portrait of two young children hung on the wall of the front room, and officers shuffling back and forth inside could be seen reflected in the glass door of a trinket cabinet.
John Gorrera, 62, described the Burnhams as good neighbors. "The guy would do anything for you," he said of James Burnham.
Brittany Lowery, 23, said she had been friends with Nicklas as a child but they grew apart when they went to different high schools.
"I hope that she's OK at least," Lowery said.
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