8-year-old girl shot by father listed in critical but stable condition

US Coast Guard serviceman fatally shot wife, 7-year-old son, police say

By Madeleine Wright - Reporter, Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. - An 8-year-old girl who was shot by her father over the weekend was listed in critical but stable condition Monday.

Authorities said John Presnar, 44, a U.S. Coast Guard serviceman stationed in Miami Beach fatally shot his wife and 7-year-old son early Sunday before taking his own life.

Police said he had also shot his daughter, but she survived.

According to Lt. Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade Police Department, Presnar and his 39-year-old wife, Gretchen Presnar, got into an argument about 1 a.m. Sunday at their home in the 11400 block of Southwest 242nd Lane. Zabaleta said when John Presnar pulled out a gun, Gretchen Presnar warned her mother to run for help. 

U.S. Coast Guard

U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle crewman Petty Officer 1st Class John Presnar handles a line while adjusting sails aboard the Eagle, Sept. 17, 2012.

By the time officers arrived at the home, Presnar had killed his wife and son, wounded his daughter and committed suicide, Zabaleta said.

Paramedics airlifted the daughter to Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, where she remains.

Neighbors told Local 10 News they were shocked to hear about the shooting.

"It's pretty sad. Really sad," Mike Blair said.

Neighbors described the Presnars as a "very friendly family" and have no clue what could have set off John Presnar.

Lt. Cmdr. Ryan Kelly, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard, said Presnar was an electronics technician who had served in the Coast Guard since 2001.

"The Coast Guard is deeply saddened by this tragedy and our hearts go out to the family members of those who were killed," the agency said in a statement. "We continue to pray for and offer the full support of the Coast Guard to the young child fighting for her life."

The Archdiocese of Miami confirmed that the children, John Presnar Jr. and McKenna Presnar, were first-and third-grade students at Our Lady of The Holy Rosary-St. Richard Catholic School in Cutler Bay.

"Please keep the Presnar family in your thoughts and prayers," school officials said in a letter to parents of students at the school. 

Counselors were at the school Monday for students and staff members. 
 

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