A depressed Florida man shot his wife and two children before killing himself after closing his hot air balloon business and facing losing his job as a Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspector because of automatic budget cuts known as “sequestration.”
A source told CBS News that 45-year-old Carlos Zuniga was depressed in the weeks before he shot his wife 43-year-old wife, Michelle, his 14-year-old daughter, Lauren, and his 11-year-old son, Stefan. Carlos Zuniga then killed himself.
Stefan Zuniga died at Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center on Thursday morning. Both the wife and the daughter were in critical condition.
According to The Miami Herald, Carlos Zuniga was in the process of shutting down Winds Aloft Aviation Inc., a hot air balloon business that he had started with this wife in 2005. He had recently taken a job as a aviation safety inspector for the Federal Aviation Administration. But the FAA is expected to be forced to furlough a “vast majority” of it’s employees because of automatic budget cuts in the so-called “sequester” if Congress does not act quickly.
“FAA is going to face a cut of roughly $600 million under sequester,” Office of Management and Budget controller Danny Werfel told a Senate committee last week. “A vast majority of their 47,000 employees will be furloughed for one day per pay period for the rest of the year, and, as importantly, this is going to reduce air traffic levels across the country, causing delays and disruptions for all travelers.”
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood has also notified senators that allowing the automatic cuts “would force the FAA to undergo an immediate retrenchment of core functions.”
Earlier this week, President Barack Obama warned that there would be stark consequences if Congress allowed the automatic cuts to take place.
“These cuts are not smart,” Obama said on Tuesday. “They are not fair. They will hurt our economy. They will add hundreds of thousands of Americans to the unemployment rolls. This is not an abstraction — people will lose their jobs. The unemployment rate might tick up again.”
Former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour on Tuesday told Fox Business that “I hope and believe that Republicans will allow the sequestration to go into effect, so that we can start down a path of trying to get control of spending and reduce the deficit.”
Watch this video from WSVN, broadcast Feb. 21, 2013.