A gunman was charged Thursday in the murder of four children and their parents after he arrived at their suburban Houston home dressed as a delivery man, then proceed to shoot the family to death, officials say. A domestic dispute is said to be the reason behind the slayings.
Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, has been charged with multiple counts of capital murder in the killings Wednesday night, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said early Thursday. He is also accused of critically wounding a 15-year-old girl in the shooting massacre.
“I have not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that is this horrific,” Hickman said.
Documents introduced during a preliminary court hearing Thursday show the 15-year-old girl attempted to shut the door to the home after telling Haskell her parents weren’t home when he kicked in the door, according to a report by KPRC-TV in Houston.
Haskell was estranged from a woman related to the couple, Hickman said. Authorities said earlier that Haskell’s wife doesn’t live in Texas, but a different state. Hickman corrected preliminary accounts given by law enforcement personnel Wednesday night that Haskell was the father of the children he killed.
The children include two boys ages 4 and 14 as well as two girls ages 7 and 9. The names of the children and the parents have not been released. The father was 39 and the mother was 33, according to Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland.
Haskell Haskell “gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents,” Hickman told reporters outside the family’s home Thursday. “Some time later the victims were shot in the residence.”
Hickman details that Haskell “came in the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt.”
Hickman said that Haskell left the home after the injured 15-year-old girl – a daughter of the murdered couple – contacted authorities telling them the shooter was en route to shoot other family members. Law enforcement personnel found Haskell’s car and a low-speed chase began that eventually ended in a cul-de-sac, Hickman said. A standoff ensued lasting more than three hours before Haskell emerged from the vehicle, sank to his knees and surrendered himself.
Domestic Dispute Likely Culprit in Shooting Deaths of 6 in Texas