Duluth police look for warning signs in Army guardsman's past to explain shootings
On the day of Matthew Magdzas' funeral, Superior police still were working to understand why the Army National Guard veteran apparently killed his pregnant wife, their young daughter and three dogs before taking his own life last week.
Understanding Magdzas' actions may help prevent similar tragedies in the future by alerting officials to warning signs, Superior Police Chief Floyd Peters said.
Investigators are subpoenaing Magdzas' military medical records to see if he had complained of or been treated for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
On Tuesday, Superior Police Captain of Investigations Chad La Lor said he did not know when investigators would receive Magdzas' medical records. La Lor said the investigation would continue "until we're comfortable that we've accomplished what we expect to accomplish."
Magdzas enlisted in the Guard in 2004. In 2006 he volunteered to deploy with a Guard artillery unit that protected convoys moving between Kuwait and northern Iraq. His deployment ended in 2007.
About 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 18, police responded to the Magdzas home at 2011 N. 22nd St. after April Jean Oles Magdzas' mother called 911 reporting that her daughter, son-in-law and grandchild were in the residence and that she believed "he killed them all."
Police found the bodies of Matthew Magdzas, 23; April Magdzas, 26; Lila, 13 months; and three dogs in a bedroom. Police believe the shootings most likely happened sometime on the afternoon or early evening of Aug. 17. Family members had contact with the three about
2 p.m. that day.
There was no sign of a struggle, La Lor said. Police have not found anyone who heard what sounded like gunshots.
"Which is not unusual," La Lor said. "In the past when we've had instances when we know gunshots have been fired, we haven't received 911 calls. And every Fourth of July we get a lot of shots-fired calls, and they're fireworks."
Police are not saying how many shots were fired. Investigators recovered a
9 mm handgun at the scene but found no evidence that a silencer was used. The house's windows were closed, and an air-conditioner was running in the bedroom, which could have muffled the sounds of shots.
"It's not unusual that unless someone was close by they may not hear them," La Lor said.
A family member said last week that April Magdzas and her daughter were not living at the Superior house where they died, and that April Magdzas had been removing items from the home.
A triple funeral for April, her daughter, Lila Jean, and unborn daughter Annah Helen-Mae Magdzas was held Monday in Cloquet. Pastor Paul Hadland encouraged mourners to choose faith, hope and love because April, Lila and Annah "now dance in the light of Jesus, which brings joy."
Matthew Magdzas' funeral was held Tuesday in Superior.