CAPTION: Law enforcement officers surround a shooting suspect Wednesday, July 9, 2014, in Spring, Texas. (Houston Chronicle, Brett Coomer)
A father who authorities say fatally shot two adults and four of his children and critically wounded his 15-year-old daughter, sank to his knees in surrender after a three-hour standoff in suburban Houston, police said.
Investigators planned to charge the man Thursday, a day after the rampage in a usually quiet middle-class subdivision in Spring, Texas, said Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland.
Police did not release the identities of the gunman or his victims. Gilliland described the dead as two boys, ages 4 and 14; two girls, ages 7 and 9; a 39-year-old man; and a 33-year-old woman. The gunman and his wife are estranged, and she lives out of state, he said. All of the children were theirs.
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.
The teenager was able to call 911 and later warned deputies that her father planned to go to her grandparents’ home to kill them, Gilliland said.
The sheriff’s department said precinct deputy constables were called to the house in the northern Houston suburb of Spring about 6 p.m. Wednesday and found two adults and three children dead. Another child later died at a 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 of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable’s Office told reporters. He did not explain further.
Authorities also did not release the identities of the victims or the suspect, nor did they say whether the adults who were killed were related to the children or their father.
Gilliland said the teenager was in “very critical condition” at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston late Wednesday night.
After the 15-year-old survivor told deputies that her father was headed to her grandparents’ home, they were able to pass along the warning, he said.
Authorities said the teen’s information also helped them to intercept the suspect, who led nearly two dozen deputy constables’ patrol cars on a chase that ended in a cul-de-sac shortly before 7 p.m. There, the suspect’s boxed-in vehicle remained for hours. Finally, about 10 p.m., after hours of waiting and negotiations, the man emerged from his car, raised his hands and sank to his knees as deputies arrested him.
During that time, Gilliland said authorities constantly talked for two hours “with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people.”
Gilliland 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,” Gilliland said after the surrender.
Said Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman: “He was in the car for 3 1/2 hours. He was worn down like the rest of us. He came out of the car without resistance.”