Could tragedy have been prevented?
The double homicide/suicide this week in Superior involving an Iraq War veteran has a community asking if this tragedy could have been prevented.
Superior Police believe Matthew Magdzas killed his 23 year-old pregnant wife, their 13-month-old daughter, and three family dogs this week.
Iraq and Afghanistan War veteteran and Superior City Councilor Greg Mertzig says the community is stunned. He didn't know Magdzas, who served in Iraq in 2006 and 2007. But he is familiar with difficulties returning veterans face.
"I know by being deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, it's a huge, hard adjustment," Mertzig said. "When I got back from my deployment to Afghanistan, I had some difficulties finding a job. I found myself a little disgruntled and upset with how things were going."
Durbin Keeney counsels veterans in Duluth and Superior. He says less than half, about 45 percent, of returning veterans seek help.
"So the services may be there but getting the veterans to the water and making them drink when they need to is difficult sometimes," Keeney said.
Keeney served in Vietnam. He says today's wars are different because the military is depending on the National Guard and Army Reserve. That means multiple deployments that increase the chance of things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. But he warns against stereotyping returning soldiers as having PTSD "because it casts an aspersion on all of them."
"We don't need that and these families don't need that," Keeney said. "This is a tragedy that happened between a young man and his family and now it's a tragedy between these people and the whole community."
Matthew Magdzas was a member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard but was on a non-drilling status.