A New Market man fatally shot both his wife and their young son with one bullet last week, then turned his gun on himself, the Frederick County sheriff's office said Monday.

Police said Benyam Asefa 40, shot Barbara Giomarelli 42, who was holding their 3-month-old son Samuel on Nov. 20. Asefa was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the home in the 6800 block of Woods Court.


Police said Giomarelli was giving their 5-year-old daughter a bath in an upstairs bathroom when the couple got into an argument. The couple continued the argument downstairs before the shooting; Giomarelli and her son were later found in the kitchen and Asefa was found in the living room.

After the girl went downstairs and found the family, she went to the home of a neighbor, who called 911.

A 9mm handgun was found inside the home.

Police have not determined what the couple was arguing about. Investigators said they had "domestic issues" in the past, but that no incidents had been reported to police.

Police said Asefa's government contract job at Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute working for the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick was eliminated in September as a cost-cutting measure. He previously taught undergraduate biology courses at Hood College from 2005 to 2012.

Giomarelli worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute for Marine and Environmental Technology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore until quitting in February. She had also worked as a fellow in the Molecular Targets Development Program in the Center for Cancer Research from 2004 to 2009.