RANDOLPH COUNTY, AL (WTVM) - On a day when families were rejoicing and giving thanks, two East Alabama families found themselves in mourning.
Early Thanksgiving afternoon, members of the Randolph County Sheriff's Department were called to a home outside Wedowee after getting frantic call that someone had been shot.
Investigators say 28-year-old Tracy Ward and his family had been celebrating Thanksgiving there at his father's house on County Road 7 in the Swagg Community.
While relatives were inside, they say Ward and his 28-year-old wife April went outside. That's when police say, he shot the mother of four in the torso with a rifle.
Randolph County Sheriff Jeff Fuller tells WTVM Ward was still armed with the gun when medics pulled up and kept them from treating his wife.
Then, when deputies showed up, he says Ward turned the gun on himself.
April Ward died a short time later at the Wedowee Hospital. Her husband was pronounced dead at the scene.
Members of the Ward family declined to comment Monday.
Officials don't know what sparked the shooting but say they don't have any past reports of violence involving the Randolph County couple.
"At this point, we do not know exactly what transpired to cause the incident. That is still under investigation now. It's very tragic especially for this time of year," said Gregory Dendinger, Criminal Investigator for the Randolph County Sheriff's Department.
The Alabama Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the case.
Public Affairs officials say the ABI's investigation is ongoing.
Once it is complete, an investigative report will be provided to the District Attorney's Office.
As for the Ward's children, officials tell News Leader 9 they are in DHR's custody.
April Ward's relatives say she leaves behind four children ages 12, 10, 5 and 3.