On January 18, 1983, 22-year-old Bruce Blackman murdered six family members at his parent’s home in Coquitlam, British Columbia. Just before dawn, a neighbor phoned the police after hearing gunshots and witnessing a man being chased on the property screaming for help. When authorities arrived, they discovered the bodies of Blackman’s parents, Richard and Irene, his 16-year-old brother Rick, and his sisters Karen Rhoades and Roberta Davies along with her husband John. Most of them were shot with a .22-caliber rifle, which was found on the lawn, and at least one was bludgeoned with a blunt object. Bruce’s twin brother Barry and another sister were the only survivors of the immediate family; they were both living out of town.
Blackman had moved back into his parents home two weeks prior to the murders after quitting his job as a garbage man. His roommate also notified his parents of concerns about his mental state. He reported Bruce had become delusional: “Then about two months ago, he started interpreting the Bible. He wanted to talk to me about it, about messages he thought were in it for him. He would see messages, subliminal messages, in many things. We’d be sitting around watching the television and he’d see something in a show he thought was a message. He thought the world would end soon and he had a role of some kind to play in it.”
Ultimately, Blackman was deemed unfit to stand trial, and he was confined to a psychiatric institution. He was released in 1995 with a new identity.