An upstate New York dad who shot dead his 14-year-old honor roll student daughter before turning the gun on himself bought the 20-gauge shotgun just 16 days before the shocking murder-suicide.
Christopher Wood, 51, legally purchased the shotgun on Jan. 4 — a little over two weeks before he used it to shoot Ava Wood, 14, in the head on Jan. 20, the Post-Standard of Syracuse reported, citing Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Tom Newton.
Ava, a ninth-grader at Durgee Junior High School in Baldwinsville, was discovered in her bed with a firearm wound to the head. Her father’s body was found in another bedroom with the shotgun nearby.
“I’m in my 29th year of law enforcement. That was one of the most challenging scenes I’ve walked through,” Sheriff Toby Shelley told CNY Central.
He said Wood had never owned a firearm before, at least not one police were aware of him owning legally.
In New York state, a gun permit is not required to purchase a rifle or a shotgun — unless you live in New York City.
The night before the murder-suicide, Wood called his estranged wife, Heather Wood, and chillingly told her, “This is how it ends for us,” according to CNY Central.
Wood had previous run-ins with the law but had no criminal convictions and was not a felony offender, which would have made it illegal for him to buy the weapon, the Post-Standard reported.
Two days before the shooting, Wood also sent his ex several harassing text messages. Early last year, he was involved in a stalking incident against her, according to the outlet.
The couple were still married but were separated and did not live together, officials said.
Heather told police he was trying to keep the relationship together and she didn’t want to press charges, but wanted the incidents documented for divorce purposes, Shelley said.
Police responded to the home at 6 Triangle Place after she notified them that her daughter failed to show up for school.
Meanwhile, funeral services have been announced for Ava on Friday at Word of Life Assembly of God at 12 E. Oneida St. in Baldwinsville, from 5 to 9 p.m.
The honor student and soccer player at Durgee Junior High was “born with a competitive spirit and a love for life” and was “well known for the strong relationships she had with family and friends,” according to her obituary.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money toward Ava’s funeral costs and to support her mom.
“Ava, our beautiful friend was such an amazing, funny, competitive young girl who could always make you laugh by the silly things she said and did,” the “AVA #19” account says.
“She always brightened everyone’s day with her infectious smile. Her light still shines so brightly in our hearts, and always will … Ava loved to play soccer, she was as competitive as they come!
“She was kind, gentle, and had the most loving spirit. She loved her teammates and her friends and shared many memories on and off the field with them. She was deeply adored by her momma, and her family and she instantly stole the hearts of all those around her,” it adds.