Man Kills Six Family Members, Was Heading to Grandparents’ Home When Police Caught Him

Sad day
A Harris County constable turns away residents from the crime scene after several people were shot to death in the Houston suburb of Spring on July 9, 2014. REUTERS/Daniel Kramer

Four children and two adults were fatally shot Wednesday outside of Houston. The accused shooter, Ron Lee Haskell, 33, surrendered hours later after a car chase and an hourslong standoff with police in a neighboring cul-de-sac.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office held a news conference at 5:30 Thursday morning and identified the victims. The deceased are two females, ages 6 and 9; two males, ages 4 and 13; and two adults, a 34-year-old female and a 39-year-old male.

Mark Herman, assistant chief deputy for the Precinct 4 Harris County constable, confirmed that authorities responded to a report of a handgun shooting around 6 p.m. in the 700 block of Leaflet Lane in Spring, a neighborhood 25 miles outside of Houston. When authorities arrived on the scene, five were dead and two others had suffered gunshot wounds to the head. The two in critical condition were taken to the hospital, where one died.

A 15-year-old girl is the sole survivor from the massacre. Before she was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, she called responders and told them that Haskell was on his way to kill other members of the family—including grandparents—at a nearby address. She notified authorities of the location she believed Haskell was heading to.

During the press conference, Constable Ronald Hickman said that it was “obviously a domestic situation that went south, probably a divorce or at least a separation.”

Investigators are attempting to sort out the exact family relationships between Haskell and the victims. Hickman told CNN that Haskell was not the children’s father, as police had incorrectly told reporters earlier. Haskell was reportedly wearing a purple “FedEx-looking shirt” and is thought to have been an uncle to some of the victims. He gathered up the children before he shot them, Hickman said.

Haskell had approached the second home when he saw officers there and fled. The police pursued him for 25 minutes before corralling him on nearby Country Meadow Drive. SWAT teams surrounded his Honda sedan and used spike strips to puncture the car’s tires. The tense standoff with Haskell reportedly lasted about three hours until he surrendered. During the standoff, police said, Haskell pointed the handgun to his head.

The family was “close-knit,” according to neighbors. A woman living across the street from the family, who asked not to be identified, said, “They were very sweet, and their kids were very shy. This is a sad, sad day.”