A 21-year-old college dropout who lived with his parents allegedly shot them and his teenage sister before turning the gun on himself, detectives said Thursday, identifying the family in a murder-suicide that stunned a hilltop Mission Viejo community.
An initial investigation and evidence at the crime scene point to Michael Harrison Davis Sheer, 21, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department. The gunman is believed to have targeted his father, Mark Harrison Sheer, 55; mother, Lydia Ann Sheer, 54; and sister, Amy Joanne Sheer, 15.
The family lived in a spacious two-story home along the 26500 block of Pacific Hills Drive, near walking trails they often roamed. Sheriff's deputies first patrolled the area Monday after getting a call about gunshots and a man yelling. They didn't see signs of a shooting, but returned to the street the next day — after a relative found the victims and called 911 shortly after 9 a.m.
Neighbors described Michael Sheer as a bodybuilder and drummer who liked jazz, and wore USC T-shirts to reflect his love of sports.
Sheer, who has no criminal record apart from three speeding tickets, attended Saddleback Valley Christian High School in San Juan Capistrano, where he played football. At 17, he entered Saddleback College, signing up for general education courses including math, accounting and advertising, said Jennie McCue, communications director at the campus. He was enrolled for three semesters until fall 2009, and never graduated, she added.
Lydia Sheer home-schooled her children in their early years. Amy Sheer switched to Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine in 2013 for her freshman year.
The family's deep faith brought them regularly to Mount of Olives Lutheran Church in Mission Viejo, where senior pastor John Steward reached out to parishioners struggling with grief. Mark Sheer, a business consultant, worked with the prison ministry; both he and his wife taught Bible study.
"The Sheers were part of our family here at Mount of Olives Church, and we ask everyone to pray for their extended families and friends," Steward said, citing concern "for the welfare of our congregation and particularly our teens and young adults who knew the Sheer children."