NEWTON - A packed, standing-room only community meeting was held in Newton, after arocked the town.
The sense of security and normalcy was shattered for many people after 41-year-old Christopher Ferguson was charged in the random brutal attack that left three beloved family members dead: 74-year-old Bruno D'Amore, his wife 73-year-old Jill and Jill's 97-year-old mother Lucia Arpino.
The meeting at Horace Mann Elementary gave residents the chance to ask questions and seek ideas on how to move forward in light of the tragedy and public safety threat.
"A lot of people are sad, a lot of people are angry," said Tina Caruso who knew the victim's family. "I think it's a more of a why that these poor people; especially Lucia who lived so long was killed tragically."
"I have to say it's an out of body experience trying to grasp what happened," said Newton resident Jessica Morson.
"After the other day, I just started looking over my shoulder a little more, I know he got caught but tensions are a little more risen," said Newton resident J Baggett.
Concerns about Ferguson's mental health and potential history of mental illness raised tensions during the meeting.
"The person who committed this crime--that was a very difficult thing for some people to raise because there was a lot of animosity around that and I do think that's another side of this tragedy I feel very compassionate about too," said Andrea Kelley, Newton City Councilor.
Probable cause court documents say Ferguson's ex-girlfriend allegedly told officers that he was "diagnosed with bipolar disorder" and "had been in a manic episode since February 2023."
His sister, who shares a home with Ferguson not too far from the victim's home "described his recent behavior as "erratic."
Police say the morning the bodies were discovered, Ferguson was identified on surveillance video nearby, staggering with no shoes or shirt.
A bloody footprint at the murder scene later connected Ferguson to the home.
"It's increasingly clear that the alleged perpetrator who is a Newtonian from a wonderful family clearly suffered over many years with mental illness and our system let him down," said Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.
With no clear answers as to why the tragedy happened, the community hopes to somehow get back to a place of peace and understanding.
"We're going to be OK, we will recover and come back from this," said Morson.
Right now, Ferguson is charged with Jill D'Amore's murder, pending the autopsies for Lucia Arpino and Bruno D'Amore.
The Middlesex District Attorney said she anticipates he will face more charges.
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