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

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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.

Six killed, including four children, in Houston-area shooting
Ronald Lee Haskell is escorted by deputies for a hearing on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Houston. Haskell, 33, is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding and putting them face-down on the floor of their suburban Houston home. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer, Pool)
Ronald Lee Haskell is wheeled from the courtroom after collapsing during a hearing in court on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Houston. Haskell, 33, is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding and putting them face-down on the floor of their suburban Houston home. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer, Pool)
Ronald Lee Haskell collapses as he appears in court on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Houston. Haskell, 33, is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding and putting them face-down on the floor of their suburban Houston home. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer, Pool)
Ronald Lee Haskell collapses as he appears in court on Friday, July 11, 2014, in Houston. Haskell, 33, is accused of killing his ex-wife's sister, Katie Stay, her husband and the children, ranging in age from 4 to 14, after binding and putting them face-down on the floor of their suburban Houston home. (AP Photo/Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer, Pool)
A photograph, flowers and candles are left on the porch where a fatal home shooting took place Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A family who identified themselves as friends of the victims, make their way to the house where six people were fatally shot to place flowers and a photograph on the porch Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A family who identified themselves as friends of the victims, pause on the porch Thursday, July 10, 2014, after placing flowers and a framed photograph at the door of the home where a gunman killed six people Wednesday in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff’s Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Haskell surrendered Wednesday night to end the domestic dispute in Spring. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four of his children and critically wounded his 15-year-old daughter, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
 A family who identified themselves as friends of the victims, pause on the porch Thursday, July 10, 2014, after placing flowers and a framed photograph at the door of the home where a gunman killed six people Wednesday in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff?s Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
This booking photo provided by the Harris County Sheriff's Office shows Ronald Lee Haskell. Haskell, 33, is charged with multiple counts of capital murder in the killings of two adults and four children 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. (AP Photo/Harris County Sheriff's Office)
Faculty and parents gather outside Lemm Elementary School after placing ribbons on the trees in honor of those killed in a multiple shooting Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. Some of the victims were students at the school. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
This undated photo released by the Cache County Sheriff's Office on Thursday, July 10, 2014 shows Ronald Lee Haskell. On Thursday, Utah authorities said the 33-year-old man accused of killing four children and two adults in a Houston suburb had previous run-ins with Utah police. (AP Photo/Cache County Sheriff's Office)
A weathered address sign painted like the Texas flag is shown outside the home where a multiple shooting took place Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
The home which was the scene of a multiple shooting Wednesday evening is shown Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
A family who identified themselves as friends of the shooting victims leave the home where the family was shot after placing flowers and a framed photograph on the porch Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff's Office said Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Neighbors of the shooting victims, from left, Viri Palacios, her brother Miguel and sister Anamari talk about the shooting deaths that occurred across the street from their home Thursday, July 10, 2014, in Spring, Texas. The Harris County Sheriff's Office says Ronald Lee Haskell was booked Thursday on a capital murder/multiple murders charge and held without bond. Authorities believe Haskell fatally shot two adults and four children on Wednesday night and critically wounded a 15-year-old girl, who called 911. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
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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.

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

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