In what was apparently a domestic dispute that became a massacre, a Houston-area man is now in custody after allegedly killing six people, including four children, on Wednesday night. The man, later identified by CNN as Ron Lee Haskell, surrendered after a standoff against police. He'll be officially charged on Thursday.
Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland told the Associated Press that the dead included a 4-year-old boy, two girls aged 7 and 9, and a 14-year-old boy. The two adults killed were a 39-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman. Although Gilliland originally identified Haskell as the father of all four children, he later corrected his account to the Associated Press. The dead are the gunman's sister and brother-in-law, along with four of their children. Haskell is estranged from his wife, who lives in another state. According to the AP's updated account, Haskell disguised himself as a FedEx delivery man in order to gain entry into the home. Haskell then asked the children, at home, where his estranged wife was. Their parents came home later, at which point the gunman opened fire.
The only surviving member of the shooting — the gunman's 15-year-old niece — identified the shooter to police, and told them where he was headed next, according to Gilliland. The deputy told the AP that the girl called 911, and alerted officials that the shooter planned on killing her grandparents. "Fortunately, they were brought out of the house before that could happen," Gilliland told CNN. She remains in critical condition at a Houston-area hospital. According to court documents introduced at a hearing on Thursday, the 15-year-old girl tried to shut the door to her home on Haskell, but he kicked it in.
The Houstson Chronicle spoke to those living nearby the site of the massacre:
A woman who said she lives across the street from the house described the family as "close-knit."
"It was a Mormon family," she said. "They were very sweet and their kids were very shy. This is a sad, sad day."
The woman, who asked not to be identified, said five children and two adults lived in the house.
John Barros, a real estate agent, said one of the residents of the home where the shootings took place was a broker with whom he worked.
"It's a great family … very religious," Barros said. "They pray every day."
Before his capture, the suspected gunman led police on a slow-speed chase around a suburban Houston neighborhood, leading to an hours-long standoff. Gilliland described the standoff as "two hours of constant talking with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people." At around 10 p.m., the AP writes, "the man emerged from his car, raised his hands and sank to his knees as deputies placed him under arrest."
This post has been updated with new information