Texas man charged with capital murder for shooting dead six

Reuters News
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Posted: Jul 09, 2014 9:26 PM

By Daniel Kramer

SPRING Texas (Reuters) - A Texas man was charged with capital murder on Thursday after appearing at the house of his estranged wife's relatives disguised as a FedEx driver and gunning down a married couple and four of their children, authorities said.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, was being held without bond since his arrest on Wednesday night after the shooting in the Houston suburb of Spring, they said.

"Mr. Haskell was married to a relative of the victims," said Mark Herman, the assistant chief deputy for the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 office told Reuters. "Mr. Haskell and his spouse were divorced. I'm not sure what conclusion we can draw from the motive to attack family members," Herman said.

The suspect was chased by police through the residential area of tree-lined streets about 25 miles (40 kms) north of Houston before he was trapped on a dead end and surrendered after a four-hour standoff.

The children killed were two boys aged 4 and 14 and two girls ages 7 and 9, the sheriff's office said. A 15-year-old girl was also shot and was hospitalized in critical condition.

The Harris County District Clerk identified the adult victims as Katie Stay and Stephen Stay.

Haskell was charged with capital murder and multiple murders. Capital murder can carry the death penalty in Texas.

The constable's office said Haskell arrived at the Stay home in the late afternoon dressed as a FedEx driver.

"He came to this residence, gathered up the children that were here, and awaited the arrival of the parents. Sometime later the victims were shot at this residence," Constable Ron Hickman said at a news conference. A 15-year-old survivor identified the suspect and told police where he might be going, enabling officers to head him off before he arrived at the home of another family, police said.

"We don't know why this happened," said neighbor Paul Anthony Slawinski. "This man, his wife, and children were the definition of compassion and charity."

Five of the victims were found dead at the scene, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said. The sixth, a child, died after being flown to a hospital.

(Reporting and writing by Jon Herskovitz from Austin, Texas and Eric M. Johnson from Seattle; Additional reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; editing by Doina Chiacu)