QUEENS CUSTODY BLOODBATH: Man kills wife, ex-wife, son, self in Astoria

- A Queens man in a custody battle shot and killed his young son, his ex-wife, and his current wife before taking his own life Monday night, according to New York City police officials.

Responding to a 911 call from a building caretaker at 23-07 30th Drive in Astoria, police officers found the bodies inside a small room in a first-floor apartment just before 9 p.m.

Police on Tuesday identified the shooter as James Shields Jr., 39, of Astoria, and two of his victims as Linda Olthof, 47, his ex-wife, and Giacomo James Shields, 6, their son.

"What this appears to be is a custody battle," Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said at a Tuesday afternoon press conference. "We still have an active search warrant being taken place at that scene as well as a vehicle that has a search to be conducted."

Police found two Glock handguns inside the home as well as seven fully-loaded ammunition magazines on Shields's body "over and above the magazines that were in the two guns," Shea said. Those extra clips contained approximately 70 rounds, he said.

"That's an interesting wrinkle in the case," Shea said. "What those rounds were meant for may never be known."

Police ran traces on the handguns—a Glock 17 and a Glock 19—and both appeared to be legally purchased, Shea said. Shields had a New York City premises license for the pistols but did not have a carry permit, he said.

Shields, a licensed physical therapist and co-founder of Score Rehab, created a GoFundMe campaign called "Child Kidnapping" in which he said that his ex-wife, who was Dutch, had full custody of their son, Jimmy.

The ex and son came to New York from the Netherlands, where they live, on July 21 so that Shields could have visitation with the boy, Shea said.

Shields created the fundraising campaign because the custody dispute caused financial problems destroying his second marriage, he wrote, and that his life was "spiraling out of control," Shea said.

Shields's ex-wife and their son were set to return to the Netherlands next week.

About eight months ago, a neighbor called 911 to report what sounded like a man and a woman arguing inside the apartment, Shea said. The officers who responded found that the man had left and the woman refused to give her name or any information, Shea said. The officers filled out a domestic incident report, as is standard procedure, he said.

Video from Monday night's scene showed dozens of detectives and officers, including some from the Emergency Service Unit as well as a K-9 officer, participating in the response and probe.

Many bystanders from around the neighborhood, which is considered one of the safest in Queens, gathered at the crime scene tape to watch what was happening.

The walkup four-story brick building has eight apartments, according to Buildings Department records.

With the AP

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