Husband in Springettsbury murder-suicide recently lost dad and brother


In just one year, Brian Wilk lost his father and his brother.

They died within months of each other.

Wilk's brother Timothy Wilk, 54, of Renovo in Clinton County, died in September. Brian Wilk's father, Stanley A. Wilk, 76, of Ephrata, died two weeks ago, according to obituaries posted on Lancaster Online.

Then Brian Wilk, of Springettsbury Township, took his life this week with a gunshot wound to the head. Before he pulled the trigger on himself, he shot his wife Donna dead, according to police. It was York County's fourth murder-suicide of the year.

Related linksPolice continue to investigate

Brian Wilk's stepmother, Shirley Wilk, declined to comment, but confirmed Brian Wilk was the son and brother of the deceased men.

According to both obituaries, the men enjoyed hunting and were active in the community.

But much is still unknown about Brian Wilk, and it's not clear what kind of relationship he had with his family.

Members of Donna Wilk's family could not be reached for comment. Her co-workers at the Subway in Gabriel Brothers Plaza remembered her fondly and called her a "member of our family."

Chuck Lambert, an owner of the sub shop, said Donna Wilk preferred to be called by her maiden name, Donna Rae.

Facing loss: While police are still investigating the couple's death, a local suicide-prevention advocate said domestic issues are likely factor.

Related linksPolice continue to investigate

Cindy Richard, director of Southern Community Services and the York County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said people respond to deaths in their families in different ways, depending on whom they lost and the situation surrounding the loss.

"This man was having a difficult time," she said. "I know the police are still trying to figure out what happened right before his outrage — that's the only way I can describe it."

Richard said that in the next fiscal year, her organization and its community partners hope to make mental health and domestic violence top priorities within the York County community.

"Unfortunately, York County is a hot spot for murder-suicide," she said. "We can do more to stop it."

According to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, signs of suicide include the following:

•— Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself.

•— Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other potentially lethal objects.

•— Feeling hopeless.

•— Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge.

•— Acting recklessly or engaging in risky behaviors.

She said people who need to talk about their feelings should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-TALK.

— Reach reporter Sara Blumberg at