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A leafy suburb that has already witnessed its share of grisly murders, was once again the scene of a tragic killing Saturday after a domestic dispute left a woman and two children dead.

Orange police tape cordoned off a white brick bungalow on a quiet crescent in Beaconsfield, a bedroom community in west-end Montreal.

"It appears to be a triple murder followed by an attempted suicide," said police spokesperson Robert Mansueto.

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A friend of the family called 911 after becoming concerned when no one answered the door on Saturday morning.

Police discovered the grisly scene shortly before noon.

"As the officers arrived on the scene, they entered the premises and they found the victims in their respective bedrooms," Mr. Mansueto said. "The man who we believe was the father was still alive."

The 41-year-old man was rushed to hospital and is in extremely critical condition.

The woman, 40, and two sisters aged 10 and 17, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities have not confirmed the identities of any of the victims, but it is believed all were members of the same family.

Police said all the victims suffered from gunshot wounds. Investigators also found a handgun in the house.

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Neighbours said the sisters enjoyed tennis and ballet, and that their father is a psychologist.

"I never knew anything was really wrong," said Emma-Lee Regimbal, 14, who lives on the same tree-lined crescent.

"They seemed like really nice, down-to-earth people."

Ms. Regimbal, who took ballet with the younger sister, said the young girl was slated to play the part of a mouse in an local production of the Nutcracker this Christmas.

The family had apparently moved into the neighbourhood in the summer of 2005.

"The kids were wonderful," said Andre Martin, who has lived in the neighbourhood for 18 years. "The [younger]daughter was a nice little angel. She was so beautiful, so full of energy, always smiling."

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Police say none of the victims were known to them, and there was no record of ever having been called to house.

Saturday's incident marks the fourth time in recent years that Beaconsfield has witnessed multiple murders.

In April 1995, Frank Toope and his wife Jocelyn were killed during a botched robbery. In May 2001, Margareth and Ed Fertuck were killed by their schizophrenic son, who also killed himself. Later that year, John Bauer killed his wife, three sons, father-in-law and a business partner before taking his own life.

All the incidents took place within a half-kilometre of each other.

Residents of the area were at a loss to explain the violence.

"People move here because of the quiet," said Mr. Martin. "The school is right there. There's a park with soccer, baseball fields, tennis courts and slides for kids."

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He said nothing more than coincidence could explain the proximity of the deaths.

"They're all family dramas and you just don't see it. I just hope it skips [my street]"

Saturday's incident come less than two weeks after a woman in Barrie, Ont., was charged with killing her two young daughters at the heart of a bitter custody dispute with her estranged husband.

Frances Elaine Campione, 31, faces two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Serena Campione, 3, and her one-year-old daughter Sophia.

Ms. Campione is to return to court Nov. 29.

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