Port St John: A Florida mother who fatally shot her four children before killing herself on Tuesday called three of the kids who had sought help from a neighbour back to the house before firing the fatal shots, authorities said.
Three of Tonya Thomas' children had gone to a neighbour's front door before dawn to say their mother had shot them, said Lt Tod Goodyear, a spokesman for the Brevard County Sheriff's Office. She then called the children back to the house and killed them, Goodyear said.
The children ranged in age from 12 to 17.
"It appeared they had been shot," Goodyear said. "The mother of the children came out of the residence next door, called for the children to return home, at which time they left and went back to the house."
The neighbour then heard gunshots and called police.
Another neighbour told deputies that Thomas sent a text message in the middle of the night saying she wanted to be cremated with her children, Goodyear said.
The shooting happened in an area known as the "Space Coast" because it is the home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the location of numerous shuttle launches.
First Published: Tuesday, May 15, 2012, 23:29