A small Connecticut town was left reeling in grief and confusion after a popular teacher shot dead a masked knife-wielding prowler - only to discover it was his 15-year-old son.
No immediate charges were brought against Jeffrey Giuliano for the killing of his son Tyler, who was gunned down in his aunt's driveway next door to his own home at around 1am on Thursday.
"It's something out of a Hollywood script," said John Hodge, the first selectman (top elected official) in New Fairfield, a town of nearly 14,000 people about 50 miles from New York City.
State police spokesman Lt Paul Vance said the boy had never been in trouble with the law and some of those who knew him described him as a good kid with an easygoing personality.
Investigators and acquaintances said they were at a loss to explain what he was doing outside dressed in black and carrying a weapon. "Certainly, that is the major question we are trying to answer at this point," Lt Vance said.
State police said the shooting happened after Jeffrey Giuliano received a call from his sister next door, saying that someone might be trying to break into her home in their neighbourhood of attractive colonial-style houses. Mr Giuliano grabbed a handgun and went outside to investigate, troopers said. He confronted someone in a ski mask and opened fire when the person came at him with something shiny in his hand, police said.
When police officers arrived, Tyler was lying dead in the driveway with a knife in his hand and his father, in T-shirt and shorts, was sitting on the grass. Detectives informed the elder Giuliano several hours later that he had shot his son, Lt Vance said. "All in all it's a tragedy," the officer said.
Police were investigating whether the father's gun was registered.
Tyler was a student at New Fairfield High School and a Civil Air Patrol cadet. Some of those who knew him said he enjoyed spending time with his family and flying gliders and small planes. He was adopted by Mr Giuliano and his wife a few years ago, friends said.
Alicia Roy, New Fairfield superintendent of schools, said the elder Giuliano, who grew up in the town, held summer music and zoology camps for his students and plays the guitar in a local rock band that raises money for charity. He is affectionately known as "Mr G" around Meeting House Hill School. "He was the teacher you requested in the fifth grade. He was a great teacher. All the kids loved him," said Rosemary Rasile, the mother of one of Mr Giuliano's former pupils.