Spring (Texas): A man accused of fatally shooting four children ages 4 to 14 and their parents after entering their suburban Houston home disguised as a FedEx delivery man while looking for his former wife was charged with capital murder on Thursday.
Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, went to the home searching for his former wife, who is related to the victims, and held the children at gunpoint until their parents returned, authorities said. He then brought all seven family members into a room and shot them, killing all except a teenage girl, authorities said.
"I`ve not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family this horrific," Harris County Constable Ron Hickman told reporters.
Haskell, who formerly worked for a contractor used by FedEx, is being held without bail. In Texas, the charge of capital murder carries the possibility of the death penalty.
Police in Logan, Utah, said in a statement that Haskell and his then-wife lived in the city from 2006 to 2013. They said they had once arrested him for domestic assault and violence but the charges were dropped after he accepted a plea deal. Police in Texas said Haskell carried a California driver`s license.
Haskell is alleged to have killed two boys ages 4 and 14, two girls ages 7 and 9, and their parents Stephen Stay, 39, and Katie, 33. Five of them were found dead and one of the children died after being flown to a hospital for treatment. A 15-year-old daughter survived the attack, the sheriff`s office said.
Local media reported that the family was bound and each member shot execution style, but police would not confirm the reports.
"Stephen and Katie Stay and their beautiful children were an amazing and resilient family. They lived to help others, both at church and in their neighbourhood. We love them beyond words," Katie Stay`s father, Roger Lyon, said in a statement issued by the family.
"We are shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken these precious souls away from us," Lyon said, adding the teenage daughter who survived the shooting, Cassidy Stay, was expected to make a full recovery.
The suspect`s former wife did not live at the house and was not harmed in the incident.