Chief: 2 children likely dead before standoff began

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2015 3:17 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two young children found dead along with their father after a 23-hour standoff at a Missouri apartment likely died before officers arrived, police said Tuesday.

The children were fatally shot by their father, William Williams, who was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound when police entered their apartment in Springfield, Police Chief Paul Williams said during a news conference.

The chief said the suspect talked to negotiators about his 4-year-old son, Brodie, and 2-year-old daughter, Marley, but never said they were dead.

A local attorney said William Williams, 51, and his wife were divorcing and working on a custody plan for the children, but the police chief said investigators may never know the motive for the shootings.

The standoff began late Sunday and ended around 9 p.m. Monday, when police officers found the three bodies in the apartment. No one else was inside the home at the time.

Online court records show Williams filed for divorce from Brittnee Williams in March 2014, but the case was dismissed in the summer. Williams refiled in November and the case was pending.

Williams' divorce attorney, Jason Shaffer, said in a statement that the couple had negotiated and approved a parenting and custody plan for the children, and that William Williams never indicated he was dissatisfied with the agreement.

The couple was scheduled to attend a parenting class Thursday, as required before a marriage involving children can be dissolved, Shaffer said.

"My heart is broken by the loss of life," Shaffer said.

The standoff began when police responded around 9:30 p.m. Sunday to a "check person" call at the apartment on the southwest side of town, according to the statement. Officers encountered an armed man and set up a perimeter. Negotiations continued throughout the day.

Police Lt. Eric Reece said at a news conference that the bomb squad deployed robots to ensure safety before officers stormed the apartment.

Police spokeswoman Lisa Cox said officers finished working at the apartment Tuesday morning but released no other information.

Williams worked as a civilian for the Missouri State Highway Patrol between 1988 and 1991, said patrol spokesman Jason Pace, who could not provide any other details. Springfield media reported that relatives and friends said Williams currently was working for CST, or Communications Solutions Technologies.