Houston shooting: Gunman charged after shooting dead four children and two adults in same family
Police arrested the suspect after a two hour standoff
A shooting rampage in suburban Houston that left six members of a single household dead, including four children, could have been even worse but for the quick thinking of the lone survivor in the home, a 15-year-old girl, who managed to warn police of the gunman’s next planned shooting despite being critically wounded herself.
When police arrived at the home in Spring, a bedroom community north of Houston, yesterday, they found five people inside already deceased from gunshot wounds. A sixth was declared dead after being flown by helicopter to a Houston hospital.
The names of the victims had not been released but police said they were two boys, ages four and 13, two girls, ages six and nine, and a man and a woman both in their 30s, thought to be the parents. Still alive was the teenage girl who said the shooter was en route to another home nearby to kill other members of what appeared to be one extended family.
Agents rushed to the second home apparently arriving as the gunman, identified yesterday as Ron Lee Haskell, 33, was just drawing up in his car. A slow-speed chase ensued, eventually ending when the driver found himself trapped in a nearby cul-de-sac. There was then a lengthy stand-off involving SWAT negotiators and eventually, late into the night, Mr Haskell stepped out of the car, sank to his knees and surrendered.
“As soon as they got over there, he came driving up, and that’s when the chase started,” Assistant Chief Deputy Constable Mark Herman said, crediting the victim's information with saving the lives of those who were living in the second house, identified as a couple also in their thirties.
Video: Interview with witnesses on the scene
Mr Haskell was charged in court with capital murder in the case and held without bond. He has not been speaking to police officers. Contrary to earlier reports, it did not appear he was father to any of the children he is alleged to have shot and there was no information on a motive for the killings although the surviving teenager reportedly indicated that it was connected to some kind of domestic dispute involving “someone who had left the family”.
“Mr Haskell was married to a relative of the victims,” noted Constable Herman. “Mr Haskell and his spouse were divorced. I'm not sure what conclusion we can draw from the motive to attack family members.” In Texas, a conviction on a capital murder charge can lead to the imposition of the death penalty.
Speaking to the Houston Chronicle, neighbours of the victims said they that they had all belonged to a devout Mormon family. “They were very sweet and their kids were very shy. This is a sad, sad day,” a woman from one house across the road said. John Barros, an estate agent, said he had worked with one of the adults who had lived in the house. “It’s a great family … very religious,” he said. “They pray every day.”
“We don’t know why this happened,” another nearby resident, Paul Anthony Slawinski, said. “This man, his wife, and children were the definition of compassion and charity.”
Police and the suspect in a standoff in houston “It appears this stems from a domestic issue with a breakup in the family from what our witness has told us,” Mr Herman told reporters. At a press conference Constable Ronald Hickman also said that by providing arriving officers with “critical information” the teenage survivor had surely prevented a wider bloodbath. She spoke with officers moments before being flown herself in a medical helicopter to a hospital for urgent emergency care.
Moreover, the officers had apparently arrived at the second home with only seconds to spare. “While quickly responding to that location, we saw him coming up to that residence where other relatives of that family lived and we assumed he meant to shoot them as well,” Constable Hickman said.
The cul-de-sac stand-off between the shooter and the police settled in after his car was successfully trapped between two armoured police vehicles. While the shooter was described as being “cool as a cucumber” through the three-hours of back and forth with negotiators outside, he also apparently spent some of that time with his pistol pointed to his own head. Police meanwhile had evacuated residents of nearby homes fearful of renewed violence.
However, Mr Haskell’s surrender avoided all further bloodshed and he was instantly taken into custody. “This concluded the way we wanted it to,” said County Sheriff’s deputy, Thomas Gilliland.
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A skilled .NET developer with e...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company are cur...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - Marke...
£33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An External Relations Executive is requi...