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Man opens fire on family, kills self

ST. LOUIS -- A man who called together his family for a group photograph took a few snapshots and then pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and opened fire on his children, authorities said.

After critically wounding a son and a teenage daughter, the man ran into a bedroom and shot himself in the head.

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The man, identified as Raymond Gruender Sr., was found dead at the scene. The wounded children were reported in critical condition after surgery at Christian Hospital Northeast. The shootings occurred Monday night at the family's home in the suburban Spanish Lake area.

Survivors told police that Gruender began shooting after he demanded to know the whereabouts of his wife. St. Louis County police said Gruender, 50, had been despondent since his wife moved away two months ago.

Raymond Gruender Jr., 23, of St. Louis was shot in the abdomen. The man's daughter, Karin Gruender, 17, was shot once in the back. Police say the younger Gruender had struggled with his father after he was shot.

Police said Gruender had invited his three children and his elder son's girlfriend to a Labor Day barbecue. About 6:30 p.m. he asked them into the living room to pose for photographs.

Gruender's youngest child, David, 12, and the elder son's girlfriend escaped unhurt. Police said Karin Gruender was shot while trying to run out of the living room.

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