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Investigators think dad shot wife, daughter before taking own life

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CATAWBA COUNTY, NC (WSOC) -- At Mill Creek Middle School in Catawba County several counselors have been called in to help students grieving over the death of a 14-year-old classmate.

The murders happened inside her family's home on Grassy Creek Road in the southern part of Catawba County near the town of Denver.

Deputies say they got a 911 hang-up call yesterday afternoon. When they got to the home they found all the doors locked but when they looked inside thru a window they could see a woman lying on the floor. That's when they decided to kick in the door.

Inside, 14-year-old Samantha Wheeler was dead along with her father Rick.Deputies say his wife Angela later died at Carolinas Medical Center.

Investigators believe Rick Wheeler shot his wife and teenage daughter and then took his own life.

"Just the perfect little family," relative Mark Hovis said. "Really not expecting anything like this. The whole family is just distraught. It's hard to comment. It's hard to think right now."

Family members and friends said they did not know of any problems between the couple.

Deputies said they got to the home within five minutes of that 911 call. They said inside there were indications there was an argument prior to the shooting.

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