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Six killed, including four children, in Houston-area shooting

Multiple-Murder Suspect Has Standoff With Texas SWAT

SPRING, Texas (AP) -- A gunman charged Thursday in the killing of four children and their parents was dressed as a delivery man when he arrived at the suburban Houston home where the family was shot to death, officials said.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, is charged with multiple counts of capital murder in the killings Wednesday evening, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said early Thursday. He also is accused of critically wounding a 15-year-old girl in the shooting rampage.

"I have not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that is this horrific," Hickman said.

Documents introduced during a preliminary court hearing Thursday show the 15-year-old girl attempted to close the door to the home after telling Haskell her parents weren't home, according to a report by KPRC-TV in Houston. But he kicked in the door.

Haskell was estranged from a woman related to the couple, Hickman said. Authorities said earlier that Haskell's wife lives in another state. Hickman corrected preliminary accounts given by law enforcement personnel Wednesday night that Haskell was the father of the slain children.

The children killed were two boys ages 4 and 14, plus two girls ages 7 and 9. Their parents were Katie and Stephen Stay, according to court documents. The father, a real estate agent, was 39 and the mother was 33, according to Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland.

Haskell "gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents," Hickman told reporters outside the home Thursday. "Some time later the victims were shot in the residence."

Hickman said Haskell "came in the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt."

Federal Express said in a statement that Haskell had "formerly provided service" for the company, but has not done so since January.

Hickman said that after Haskell left the home the injured teenage girl - also a daughter of the murdered couple - contacted authorities telling them the shooter was en route to shoot other family members.

Law enforcement personnel located Haskell's car and a low-speed chase ensued, ending in a cul-de-sac, Hickman said. A standoff then lasted more than three hours before Haskell exited the car, sank to his knees and surrendered.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Haskell.

At one point during the standoff tactical officers used a large armored vehicle to ram the front of his car, disabling it. Another armored vehicle was used to ram the rear of the car, preventing any chance of escape.

The sheriff's department said precinct deputy constables were called to the house about 6 p.m. Wednesday and found the parents and three children dead. Another child later died at a hospital.

Gilliland said the teenager was in "very critical condition" at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston late Wednesday night.

Gilliland described Haskell after the standoff as "cool as a cucumber." He said that when he and other officers first approached, Haskell was "just sitting in his car looking out at us."

Hickman said Haskell surrendered without resistance.

"He was in the car for 3 1/2 hours. He was worn down like the rest of us," he said.


Associated Press writers Emily Schmall in Fort Worth and Ramit Plushnick-Masti in Houston contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

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chemicalguyone July 10 2014 at 7:56 AM

Thankfully, Texas has a death penalty for people who commit murder. The killer should be tried, convicted and executed quickly and without fanfare.

Flag Reply +90 rate up
12 replies
fitzbeerman July 10 2014 at 7:42 AM

Add a comment..So glad to know, NO ONE EVER has killed anyone with a Knife, Car, Bomb,Club, etc. I am just happy there is only ONE way for murderers to kill people. Right, Liberals? .

Flag Reply +56 rate up
49 replies
kavincsb July 10 2014 at 7:15 AM

Wait till you see the gun supporters/Republicans/right wingers who pretend to be concerned about the " violence in Chicago" try to spin away THIS tragic incident.

Flag Reply +53 rate up
45 replies
lo colon July 10 2014 at 7:35 AM

Gun violence has become so commonplace in this here U.S. uv A., it's lost it's shock value. Don't understand why we're so afeared of foreign terrorism when we got plenty of 'em here armed to the teeth.

Flag Reply +42 rate up
9 replies
Mike July 10 2014 at 8:22 AM

Why must children be constantly victimized by the heterosexual lifestyle?

Flag Reply +26 rate up
22 replies
Rod3putt July 10 2014 at 8:12 AM

Another fine REPUB protecting his second amendment rights .

Flag Reply +25 rate up
15 replies
Roberta July 10 2014 at 8:25 AM

human emotions and access to a gun killed all these people including the 4 children,

Flag Reply +23 rate up
6 replies
Ma Fosz July 10 2014 at 7:43 AM

This is what guns could bring into every family. Just thank the NRA for their gun support.

Flag Reply +23 rate up
10 replies
s July 10 2014 at 8:04 AM

They always seem to be "church goers"

Flag Reply +18 rate up
10 replies
r_porterfield July 10 2014 at 3:05 PM

He absolutely deserves the most horrific torturous death imaginable. To stand there looking at those little faces and then consciously and methodically kill them is the MOST EVIL thing I can imagine. I have ZERO sympathy for this monster.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
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