BALLSTON SPA — Ballston Spa school officials and residents were trying to cope Monday with news about a double murder-suicide in the village last week.
The Ballston Spa School District will host a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the high school football field to remember 12-year-old Emma Jones, the seventh-grade honor roll student who police say was shot to death last week by her father. The vigil, which will be open to the community, will last about 45 minutes.
School started an hour late Monday so staff could prepare to counsel and support students confronting the absence of a classmate.
Tuesday update: Ballston Spa students, faculty offer emotional farewell to Emma Jones at vigil, Dec. 18, 2018
“The staff responded in truly remarkable ways in their preparation, thoughts and enacted support,” said District Superintendent Ken Slentz, in a message sent home to students’ parents and guardians Monday afternoon.
Police said Steven Jones, 46, shot and killed his wife, Jennifer, 43, and their daughter, Emma, with “a long gun” before killing himself. The investigation by Ballston Spa and state police continues.
The bodies were discovered Friday afternoon inside the family’s two-story home at 723 Adams Circle after Steven Jones’ employer, GlobalFoundries, asked police to do a welfare check because he had missed two days of work.
Police haven’t said when they believe the crimes occurred, but Jones was not at work Thursday or Friday, and Emma Jones was not in school either of those days. School officials said they tried to call the home, but got no answer.
At the GlobalFoundries Fab 8 computer chip plant in Malta, where Jones was a longtime employee, counseling was being offered to friends and colleagues.
“On-site counseling is being made available to our team members to assist in processing this tragedy,” said GlobalFoundries spokesman Jason Gorss in an emailed statement.
Steven Jones’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a process and equipment controls manager at GlobalFoundries, where he had worked since November of 2010. Before that, his profile says, he worked as a process engineer for computer chip equipment service company Applied Materials, coming to the area in 2007 to work at Albany Nanotech. The couple bought their house on Adams Circle, in the Colonial Hills housing development, in 2007.
Jennifer Jones was a pediatric occupational therapist at Capital District Beginnings, a contractor to the Saratoga County Head Start program.
“Jenny was an occupational therapist who went around to several locations and worked with children who had those needs,” said Jo Anne Hume, executive director of the county Economic Opportunities Council.
Hume said she had met Jones, but did not know her personally.
“I only know what our staff has said, and they’re devastated,” she said. “She had been there for quite a few years. They felt she was dedicated to the children.”
The GlobalFoundries plant, which makes 14-nanometer computer chips for smartphones and other devices, has employed as many as 3,400 since it was launched, but officials there announced in August that more than 400 jobs were being eliminated, starting in late November.
The chipmaker declined to comment on Jones, citing the police investigation, but the company said it makes counseling available to employees who are suffering from stress or personal issues.
Previous: Police: Ballston Spa man killed wife, 12-year-old daughter, himself, Dec. 15, 2018
“The health and safety of our employees is our top priority,” said Gorss, in the statement. “We take all employee issues very seriously. In addition to GlobalFoundries health and welfare benefits, we have an employee assistance program that offers 24/7 counseling on a variety of topics related to mental health and well-being.
“Our managers, human resources and health and safety professionals are trained in identifying and responding to employee concerns to help and support all employees through personal difficulties.”
At the middle school, officials said students were given a chance to learn the facts of the situation, process them and seek support, while also maintaining the instructional program.
Slentz said the district particularly wanted to thank school resource officers and Saratoga County sheriff’s deputies who assisted, as well as other school districts that offered counseling assistance.
“It has been a very trying yet very humbling experience to go through, and I am grateful to all who have offered and/or provided support and assistance,” Slentz said in his email.