Man Accused of Killing His Two Sons

By Ernesto Londoño
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 31, 2007

A Silver Spring man shot his two sons to death at home, then called police from Rockville to report the slayings, Montgomery County police and a law enforcement source said yesterday.

Thurmond Herring called police about 9 a.m., provided his address and told officers where in Rockville they could find him, according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation is ongoing.

Officers took him into custody, and other officers rushed to his beige townhouse in the 14900 block of Dinsdale Drive. Inside they found the bodies of his sons, Jeremy, 18, and Justin, 20, who apparently died from gunshot wounds, police said.

A flammable liquid that might have been gasoline was doused throughout the house, and firefighters were called to assist in what investigators initially described as an attempted arson.

Justin and Jeremy were John F. Kennedy High School graduates. Jeremy was a basketball star and was being recruited by several prominent colleges.

"This kid was everybody's role model," Jeffrey Harris, one of his neighbors, said yesterday. "This is a kid who had good grades. Everyone here looked up to him."

Police offered no motive in the slayings, and people who knew the family said they were baffled. There had been no signs of trouble at the Herring home, police said.

"It's still very perplexing as to what caused this father to take his sons' lives," police spokeswoman Lucille Baur said.

Police said they believe the young men were shot yesterday morning. Their mother learned about the shootings when officers tracked her down at work, Baur said.

Herring was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of using a handgun to commit a violent felony.

Friends and acquaintances said Thurmond Herring and his wife, Katrina, were the type of parents who seldom missed a basketball game and made a point of meeting the school principal. Thurmond Herring worked for Pepco, according to Harris.

Diallo Nelson, Jeremy's basketball coach, who has known the family for several years, said he fielded more than 70 calls yesterday from people who couldn't believe the news.

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