A woman and her son died Wednesday in what James City County Police are calling an “apparent” murder-suicide at a home in Toano.
Police said Jenell Georgia Gallegos, 35, shot her 12-year-old son, Noah W. Gallegos, while officers were responding shortly after 9 a.m. to their home, which sits on a wooded lot at the end of a long gravel driveway in the 2600 block of Little Creek Dam Road.
Noah Gallegos is a sixth-grade student at a Williamsburg-James City County school, Rubino said.
Rubino said Jenell Gallegos called emergency dispatch at 9:18 a.m. and appeared distraught and to be suffering from mental health issues.
Rubino said Jenell Gallegos was making “erratic” statements on the phone.
While police were en route, police believe Jenell Gallegos shot her son with a handgun and then herself, Rubino said.
Police forced entry into the home when they arrived, and found the mother on the floor. She was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers attempted to provide life-saving treatment to Noah Gallegos, who died while being taken by ambulance to a local hospital.
Rubino said police have been in contact with the schools to provide information and assistance as needed.
Jenell Gallegos has no other children, police said.
A neighbor, Richard Hughes, 79, said Jenell Gallegos lived with her son and her husband. The husband was not in the home at the time, and Williams said he has been notified.
“We’re not nosy people, but if I see her working in the yard, she’d wave to me,” Hughes said. Hughes’ house backs up to the Gallegos home.
Hughes said the family had lived in the house “not more than a couple years and they seemed “as nice as can be.” The 79-year-old occasionally saw the child walking around the house or playing catch with his father, he said.
Hughes was out of the house running errands when the shooting happened, and he found out when he turned on the television a couple hours later.
Williamsburg-James City County Schools spokeswoman Betsy Overkamp-Smith said Noah Gallegos attended Toano Middle School.
The school division sent additional counseling staff, school psychologists and social workers to the school after getting news of the 12-year-old’s death, Overkamp-Smith said.
The division has already communicated the news to school staff, and is planning to communicate the news to parents at the end of the school day.
Grief counselors and other staff will be available for both staff and students Thursday, and will be on-hand longer if necessary.
“We are terribly saddened at the news of the death of one of our Toano Middle School students,” Overkamp-Smith wrote in an email Wednesday afternoon. “The school has been notified and additional counseling staff is at the school. Later this afternoon, we will communicate with families and make them aware of resources available to students. As a school division, we will support the Toano Middle community through this heartbreaking tragedy and provide any resources that they may need.”
Original story 11:15 a.m. Wednesday:
James City County Police are on the scene of an “apparent murder-suicide” involving an adult and a child.
Police are not identifying the adult or child yet, and have not released the ages or genders, according to Deputy Chief Steve Rubino.
James City County Police responded to the 2600 block of Little Creek Dam Road after an emergency call came in around 9:18 a.m., Rubino said.
Officers responded to the scene and found both with gunshot wounds, Rubino said.
The incident happened inside the house.
James City County Police are still on scene and are working to notify next of kin, Rubino said.