A man who authorities say fatally shot a married couple and four of their children, and critically wounded their 15-year-old daughter, sank to his knees in surrender after a three-hour standoff in suburban Houston, police said.
Investigators charged Ron Lee Haskell, 33, with capital murder Thursday, a day after the rampage in a usually quiet middle-class subdivision in Spring, Texas, said Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland.
Haskell, a onetime FedEx employee, wore a FedEx pullover and potentially posed as a deliveryman to enter the home of Stephen and Katie Stay, 39 and 34, and their five children, reports the Houston Chronicle.
Only the children – Cassidy, 15, Bryan, 13, Emily, 9, Rebecca, 7, and Zach, 4 – were home when Haskell arrived Wednesday evening just before 6 p.m., so he rounded them up and waited for the parents to return home to begin shooting, reports the paper.
Initial reports erroneously suggested the children who died belonged to Haskell. However, the Chronicle reports a domestic dispute likely played a role in the shooting: his ex-wife is related to one of the victims. A Stay family friend told the Chronicle Haskell’s ex-wife lived at the home several months ago.
According to ABC13 in Houston, Haskell tied up the family and demanded to know the whereabouts of his ex-wife. When they did not tell him, he shot them execution-style.
The sole survivor, eldest daughter Cassidy, played dead until Haskell left the home, then called 911.
Cassidy’s parents and three of her siblings died at the scene. She and her 4-year-old brother were transported by LifeFlight to the hospital where he later died, reports the news station. Cassidy remains in critical condition.
Cassidy also told authorities she believed Haskell was headed to the home of his ex-wife’s parents.
Deputies located Haskell before he reached their home. After a brief chase, Haskell held deputies at bay for three hours before he surrendered.
Authorities said the teen’s information 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 Haskell as “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 hours. He was worn down like the rest of us. He came out of the car without resistance.”
• With reporting by the ASSOCIATED PRESS