A tense late-night standoff between sheriff’s deputies and a gunman at a home in Houston ended with eight people dead, including five children, Texas authorities say. But it wasn’t immediately clear how the victims died.
According to KHOU television, the incident began at about 9 p.m., when deputies were called to the home to perform a welfare check.
Harris County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Thomas Gilliland said when they arrived, no one came to the front door. Later, authorities received information that a man was in the home who was wanted on an aggravated assault warrant on a member of his family.
KHOU reports that deputies spotted a juvenile’s body through a window as a SWAT team was being called to assist.
The television station says:
“At that point, the sergeant and three deputies forced their way in, and the 49-year-old male suspect inside began shooting, the sheriff’s office says. Deputies pulled back and waited for the [SWAT team] and a negotiator to arrive.
“Authorities established contact with the suspect, and after more than an hour he came outside and surrendered without further incident.”
“At this time we have what appears to be five children and three adults,” The Associated Press quotes Gilliland as saying. “Ages and genders we do not have, and cause of death we do not have. The medical examiner will have to determine a cause of death.”
“Homicide detectives have taken over the operation along with our crime scene unit,” Gilliland said. “Due to the amount of victims and the proximity to the people in the house, it’ll be a scene that’s going on for a while.”
The relationship between the suspect and unidentified victims wasn’t immediately known, the AP says.
The Houston Chronicle adds:
“The incident rekindled memories of the fatal shooting in July 2014 of six members of a Spring family, including four children and two adults, after an apparent domestic dispute.
“‘It brings to mind a little over a year ago of the Stay family, where we went through this, an absolute tragedy, and again it’s played out for Harris County citizens to endure this again,’ Gilliland said.”