A Texas man has been charged with capital murder after a family of six children, one of them his own son, and two adults were found shot to death in a house in Houston, officials said on Sunday.
The children ranged in age from 6 to 13. The bodies of all eight victims, some of them handcuffed, were found in three bedrooms of the house, Craig Clopton, a homicide detective with the Harris County Sheriff’s office, told a news conference.
David Conley, 48, surrendered to police after a standoff at the house on Saturday night that lasted several hours, said Harris County Chief Deputy Sheriff Tim Cannon.
The dead included married couple, Valerie and Dwayne Jackson, and six children, one of them Conley’s 13 year-old son Nathaniel. Conley had a prior relationship with the dead woman, and the shootings are believed to have stemmed from a domestic dispute, Cannon said.
“The mass killing and the taking of the entire family are tragic realities our community has been forced to confront all too often,” Cannon said. “We do not and cannot fully comprehend the motivation of an individual that would take the lives of so many innocent people, especially the lives of the young people.”
Sheriff’s deputies went to the house after a relative of one of the victims asked for a check on the family’s welfare, Cannon said. They called for backup after learning that there was a man inside the home wanted for a prior aggravated assault.
When the deputies spotted the body of child through a window, they tried to force their way inside the home and were shot at before pulling back and calling for help.
Conley is being held without bond on three counts of capital murder, but each count can cover multiple offenses, officials said.
Authorities identified the children as Nathaniel Conley, 13, Honesty Jackson, 11, Dwayne Jackson, 10, Caleb Jackson, 9,
Trinity Jackson, 7, and Jonah Jackson, 6.
(Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City Editing by Jill Serjeant and Eric Walsh)