"Miserable" father built homemade car bomb to kill two-year-old son, friend and himself in double-murder suicide
26-year-old Jacob Schmoyer also had a history of schizophrenia and had received treatment for the same however, the outright motivation for this murder-suicide is not known.
A 26-year-old Pennsylvania father used a homemade bomb to kill himself, his son, and a friend in a double-murder suicide this past Saturday night. Jacob Schmoyer had reportedly been unhappy with his life for a long time and used a bomb he had constructed to commit the deed, with the motivations behind his actions still unclear.
According to People, the other two victims in the bombing were Schmoyer's two-year-old son, Jonathan, and his 66-year-old friend David Hallman. Speaking about the incident at a press conference, special agent Don Robinson of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Philadelphia Field Division said that all three were inside the car when it exploded.
Hallman's niece, Christine Erdman, told the Morning Call that she was shocked Schmoyer had targeted her uncle. "I didn’t know Jacob but as far as I know they worked together, [Hallman] has been there for him, given him things," she said. "And obviously that’s what he was meeting him for, thinking he was going to help him again."
Before the double-murder suicide, the 26-year-old had allegedly sent numerous letters to family members and Allentown Police where he had expressed how he was unhappy, ashamed, and angry. In the same letters, which police received three days after the explosion, he had also described the components he used to construct the bomb and revealed his intent to kill both Hallman and his son.
Authorities used the information he had specified to reconstruct the bomb at a lab in Maryland to study how the explosion may have taken place. They concluded that the bomb would have had to be placed in the center console of the vehicle to have the desired effect. They did not say where the 26-year-old had constructed the device but said they were certain there were no more devices based on the description in the letter, the crime scene, and in searches since the explosion.
Robinson, while not revealing Schmoyer's motivations outright, said the 26-year-old was "miserable." He said, "Basically the four letters describe a miserable life, he was unhappy with himself," adding how the father had also admitted to committing thefts, burglaries, and other criminal acts.
"I don't know if shame is too strong a word because of what he did later, but he admitted to a lot of criminal acts," he continued. "He didn't think it was going to get any better. There was a lot of hatred there, and obviously, some directed at Mr. Hallman and his son." A possible explanation behind his actions may come from the revelation of his family members who said the 26-year-old had a history of schizophrenia and that he had received treatment for the same.
His father, Glenn, said in a statement to NBC that his son was a "very good man" and that he was very close to Schmoyer. "He always played with his son and I just have so many good memories of them two together," the statement read. "My son was a very good man,and he would give the shirt off his back to help someone in need. He was never selfish. Things meant nothing to him, people did."
That sentiment was echoed by the 26-year-old's younger sister, Tina. She took to her Facebook page to write, "A wonderful Father, Brother, Son, Boyfriend, Cousin, Nephew, Grandson, Great Grandson, and soon would be Uncle as well. Someone who’s heart was always for others and would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need."