"Unbelievable," said Timothy Anderson, East Bay Park District police chief.
Authorities today identified the family members, all four found lifeless in the Mineral Springs parking lot in Tilden Regional Park Monday evening, as: Kevin Morrissey, 51, the suspected killer; his wife Mamiko Kawai, 40, a medical doctor who, with Morrissey, operated the Aura Skin Care Center in Albany; Nikki Morrissey, 8, the couple's oldest daughter; and Kim Morrissey, 6, the family's youngest, nicknamed "Lena."
Anderson, who has worked for East Bay Regional Parks for 20 years and was in law enforcement for an additional seven years before that, said, "I will tell you, this is one of the most shocking things I've ever seen . . . with two beautiful children killed. There was absolutely no reason for this.''
In an incident Anderson said was clearly premeditated, the big question still looming is how long Morrissey had been planning the attack.
Regional Parks police, with the help of the Berkeley Police Department, raided Morrissey's home in the 1300 block of Northside Avenue in Berkeley on Monday night.
They were looking for any additional victims -- there were none -- as well as anything that could be taken
At least one neighbor said there seemed nothing wrong with the family.
"This was a very happy family," Rich Jyrinki, 80 said. "They were always laughing and playing. Just Sunday, they had a birthday party for Nikki. It was an early birthday party, though. Her birthday wasn't for two weeks."
Jyrinki continued, "The father just lived for those little kids. The party went on 'till 10:30 or 11 at night and I told them maybe the kids should be in bed. But they all said, 'No, we're having fun.'"
Unconfirmed records show Morrissey graduated from United States Military Academy Preparatory School in 1977, also known as West Point prep. He also earned a Bachelor's degree in Middle Eastern Studies, earning Latin honors, in 1982 and was working on an M.B.A. at St. Mary's College in Moraga, these records show. A St. Mary's spokeswoman confirmed today Morrissey registered for graduate-level business courses at the college in 2001, but he never attended a class.
Authorities initially responded to the park Monday after receiving reports from people who believed they had heard illegal fireworks exploding.
The Mineral Springs parking lot is located off Wildcat Canyon Road, a county road connecting Berkeley and Orinda that sees relatively heavy traffic during rush hours. In the parking lot, behind a two-door Honda with a hatchback, authorities found Morrissey and Kawai, both with bullet holes in their heads.
A stainless steel .357 magnum revolver, registered to Morrissey, was on the ground, inches from the suspected killer's hand.
The two children were in the back seat of the car, dead.
Officials later found a suicide note -- about one-and-a-half pages, typed -- in Morrissey's pocket.
Anderson would not discuss the contents of the note, except to say it included an apology to first responders whom Morrissey knew would be arriving.
Only one other car was parked in the lot. It belonged to a woman who was hiking nearby and heard the shots, but saw nothing, Anderson said. Police did not have any eye witnesses as of late morning Tuesday.
The Contra Costa County Coroner's office was expected to conduct autopsies today.
Police were working to contact neighbors, coworkers and family to break the news of the killings as well as to help get a better idea of Morrissey's motives.
Anyone with information is asked to call East Bay Regional Park District Police at 510-881-1833.
MediaNews staff writers George Kelly, Karl Fischer, Matt Krupnick, Harry Harris and Angela Hill contributed to this story