TORONTO, Ohio -- To his neighbors, Joseph Boone seemed like a loving father and a good friend.
But early Friday morning, police said Boone set his house on fire, killed his 3-year-old son then turned the gun on himself.
The murder-suicide happened at 200 Ridgeland Drive in Toronto just before 2 a.m. Friday.
Police said 41-year-old Boone shot his young son, Hunter Joseph Boone, with a .44 Magnum while the child was in bed. The father shot the child once in the elbow, which struck the boy's chest, then shot the boy a second time in the head.
"I hope the father goes directly to hell for what he did. It may be a cruel thing to say, but it's cruel to kill your own child," Jefferson County Sheriff Fred Abdalla said.
The incident started when Boone called the mother of his child and told her he had two guns and was going to burn the house down. Shortly after the call, he followed through with his threat.
"After he set the home on fire, he locked the doors and murdered his 3-year-old son," Abdalla said.
Deputies were at the house within 10 minutes of being notified. They broke through a glass door and a neighbor gave them a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. They extinguished the fire in the basement, but smoke prevented them from trying to save the young boy. One deputy was overcome with smoke and taken to a hospital.
"The house was completely full of smoke. You couldn't see the hand in front of you," Abdalla said.
The sheriff said the boy was likely dead before they arrived and there was nothing they could have done for him.
Neighbors spoke highly of Boone and said they were shocked. They called the murder-suicide a nightmare and wondered how someone they trusted and turned to in times of need could commit such an abhorrent act.
"I just can't comprehend it. I just feel so bad for his family," said Mike Kenny, who has lived on Ridgeland Drive for 27 years and called Boone his friend.
There have been instances in the past where police have responded to Boone's home because of suicidal threats, but that's something neighbors never knew.
"He was good friend. He came to our cookouts and everything and his little boy was adorable," said Jeannie Kishing. "(It's) a big shock. It just didn’t seem that he would be capable of something like that."
Abdalla said deputies were called to the same residence for a similar claim in April. He also said Boone's home was in foreclosure and he likely had mental health problems.
"He made a statement to a family member three weeks ago that he was going to burn the house down because he didn't want the bank to take the home back," Abdalla said.