A local football coach and the father of two boys under five, friends thought Damien Little was a doting dad.
But the small community of Port Lincoln in South Australia is reeling today at the news that Little drove his car off a wharf, killing his children and himself.
The children were Koda, four, and Hunter, almost one.
Police were called to Brennan Wharf in Port Lincoln after six yesterday morning with witnesses reporting that a white Ford was driven at speed off the wharf.
Divers were called to the scene and at around 12.30pm the bodies of Little and the boys were retrieved from the car, which has sunk to a depth of about 30 metres. A rifle was reportedly also recovered.
Police are treating the tragedy as a murder-suicide.
Little’s friends told the Adelaide Advertiser the news came as a total shock.
“I saw (Little) about three days ago at the beach and he seemed absolutely fine,” said one friend.
Little reportedly posted a suicide note on the Facebook page he shared with his wife, Melissa, at around 5.45 am yesterday, but it had since been taken down.
Neighbours say both parents doted on the children.
“I just loved them. It breaks my heart. It is just so tragic.”
Another neighbour said the older boy, Koda, was often out and about in the garden with his dad and liked to ride a quad bike with him.
Little, in his 30s, was one of five AFL-loving brothers who grew up on a farm in Port Kenny, about two hours from Port Lincoln.
Little and his brothers played for Lincoln South Football Club, where Damien also coached.