Monday 18 December 2017

Father who shot dead two adults, four of his children 'sank to knees in surrender' after three-hour stand-off

Law enforcement officers surround a shooting suspect in Spring, Texas. (AP/Houston Chronicle)
Law enforcement officers surround a shooting suspect in Spring, Texas. (AP/Houston Chronicle)

A father who authorities say shot dead two adults and four of his children sank to his knees in surrender after a three-hour stand-off in the US, police say.

Investigators plan to charge the man, a day after the rampage in a middle-class Houston suburb during which his 15-year-old daughter was also critically wounded.

Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland said the wounded daughter identified her father as the gunman. After a brief chase, the man held deputies at bay for three hours before he surrendered.

Police did not release the identities of the gunman or his victims but Mr Gilliland said the dead children were two boys, aged four and 14, and two girls, aged seven and nine. Also killed were a 39-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman.

The gunman and his wife are estranged and she lives outside the state, he said. All of the children were theirs and two were adopted.

The teenager also warned officers that her father planned to go to her grandparents' home to kill them, Mr Gilliland said.

The sheriff's department said officers were called to the house in the Spring area at about 6pm yesterday and found two adults and three children dead. Another child later died in hospital.

"It appears this stems from a domestic issue with a breakup in the family from what our witness has told us," Assistant Chief Deputy Constable Mark Herman said.

Mr Gilliland said the teenager was in "very critical condition" in hospital late yesterday night.

Authorities said the teenager's information helped them warn the grandparents and intercept the suspect, who led nearly two dozen patrol cars on a chase that ended in a cul-de-sac.

There, his boxed-in vehicle remained for hours. At about 10pm, after hours of waiting and negotiations, the man emerged from his car, raised his hands and sank to his knees as police arrested him.

During that time, Mr Gilliland said authorities had constantly talked "with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people".

He described the man as in his 30s with a beard "and cool as a cucumber". He said that when he and other officers first approached, the man was "just sitting in his car looking out at us".

"This concluded the way we wanted it to," Mr Gilliland said after the surrender.

Press Association

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