The bodies of four family members including a young child were found in a Texas apartment on Thursday, May 19, after an apparent murder-suicide, the sheriff’s office said.
Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzales said a man went to a second-floor apartment in a Houston suburb, where he shot and killed his estranged wife, their 4-year-old daughter and the woman’s mother.
He then shot himself, and deputies found the four bodies when they entered the apartment, the sheriff said in a news briefing streamed by KHOU.
An investigation is ongoing, but Gonzalez said the man and his estranged wife had been going through divorce or separation proceedings for several months. He said there had been “ongoing issues,” between them, including allegations the man harmed their young daughter.
“This happened so quickly. Obviously, he was determined to do this and he was armed with a weapon,” the sheriff said. “The opportunity was there, the weapon was in hand, and he carried it out.”
The victims have not been publicly identified as of May 17. Gonzalez said the mother works at a school connected to a mosque, and a coworker went to check on her when she did not show up for work.
Mia Thomas, a neighbor who heard the gunshots, said she was “very shocked,” according to KTRK.
“I had kind of a feeling and it makes sense how I heard four shots, then a pause, and then two,” she told the station. “It does make sense, but it’s just crazy.”
The bodies were found in the living room and kitchen of the home, according to the sheriff. It’s believed that the woman was leaving the apartment with her daughter when she was confronted by her estranged husband, Gonzalez said.
Deputies found a semi-automatic pistol next to the man’s body, Gonzalez said.
“Very tragic situation,” Gonzalez said. “Especially with a 4-year-old involved. It just breaks your heart beyond words.