Veteran, three family members killed in Upper Big Tracadie

The Nova Scotia community of Upper Big Tracadie is stunned after an Afghan war veteran and his wife, young daughter and mother were found shot to death in their home.

A National Defence source has identified the husband as retired corporal Lionel Desmond.

The other victims were his wife 31-year-old Shanna Desmond, their 10-year-old daughter Aaliyah, and his mother 52-year-old Brenda Desmond.

Police say the father killed himself, but would not confirm outright the deaths were a murder-suicide.

But investigator say there was no forced entry and no lingering danger to the public.

Deanna Gillis of the Strait Regional School Board says the 10-year-old girl was a student at Chedabucto Education Centre-Guysborough Academy.

Gillis says counselling services will be available to students and staff at the primary to Grade 12 school.

She says there is a huge sense of loss in the community.

Meanwhile, Canada's military watchdog is urging the federal government to do more for soldiers forced out of the Canadian Forces for medical reasons.

Ombudsman Gary Walbourne wants Ottawa to ensure injured military personnel have all the necessary benefits and supports in place before they are forced to turn in their uniforms; recommendations he made last fall.

Police would not confirm it, but a relative says Lionel Desmond had PTSD from the Afghan war.

Walbourne says no member of the Canadian Armed Forces should be released until all benefits and services are in place.

The tragedy has thrust the treatment of current and former soldiers suffering from mental injuries back into the spotlight, highlighting the ongoing challenges in helping the thousands suffering from hidden wounds.

(With files from The Canadian Press)