David Mohney wanted big changes for his family: to end his turbulent marriage, move his children 1,900 miles from Florida to South Dakota, and transition from being a stay-at-home dad to starting work as a chiropractor. Instead, authorities say, 52-year-old Mohney reached for a gun after arguing with his wife and shot all three of their children before killing himself. The couple's youngest, a 9-year-old daughter, survived. But both of her siblings died along with their father. "If he wants to commit suicide, let him commit suicide. To shoot the children, that's cowardly," Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said outside the family's home hours after the slayings occurred before dawn yesterday. Wife Cynthia Mohney had run to a neighbor's home about 5am saying her husband had threatened her with a gun.
The neighbor called 911, but gunshots rang out before police got there. At the Mohneys' home in Port Orange, deputies found 14-year-old Savannah and 9-year-old Lauren in an upstairs bedroom. Their 11-year-old brother, David, was in a bedroom on the ground floor, and their father was in the kitchen with a handgun next to him. Lauren is hospitalized and has been upgraded to stable condition, reports WFTV. The slayings occurred as David and Cynthia Mohney were entrenched in a bitter divorce after nearly 25 years of marriage. Court filings showed David Mohney wanted to leave his wife and move with their children to South Dakota. He had recently finished chiropractic school while she supported the family as a physician's assistant. The state's child abuse hotline was notified in June that Cynthia Mohney had a substance abuse problem after an incident at a restaurant, but she had gotten treatment.