According to investigators, the two victims – Taylor Sheats, 22, and Madison Sheats, 17 – were killed by their own mother, 42-year-old Christy Sheats, who was fatally shot by a responding officer.
Authorities allege Sheats started shooting her daughters inside the home, and continued firing bullets at them as they fled. Sheats was killed by police after refusing to drop her weapon during a brief standoff. Investigators have not released a motive, but they say the violence was preceded by a verbal argument between the three.
Here are five things to know about Friday’s fatal shooting in Katy, Texas:
1. Christy Sheats Had a History of Mental Illness
Police tell PEOPLE they had been called to the Sheats home prior to Friday’s violence, and that the killer mother allegedly had a history of mental illness.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office had been to Sheats’ home “for previous altercations” involving her “mental crisis,” a sheriff’s spokeswoman tells PEOPLE, declining to elaborate on those incidents.
2. Sheats’ Husband Begged Her Not to Shoot Their Children
Police say the shooting happened on the birthday of Sheats’ husband, Jason, and that he was home at the time of the shooting. He ran for help when the bullets rang out, police say.
Eyewitnesses told police that Sheats’ husband tried pleading with his wife, begging her not to hurt their two daughters. “Don’t do this,” he’s alleged to have said to her. “They’re our kids,'” police say.
3. Sheats and Her Daughters Shared Warm Feelings on Social Media
In September, Christy made a posting on Facebook, recognizing “Daughter’s Day.”
“Happy Daughter’s Day to my two amazing, sweet, kind, beautiful, intelligent girls,” she wrote. “I love and treasure you both more than you could ever possibly know.”
On Mother’s Day three years ago, Taylor Sheats shared an old photo of her mother, calling her one of the biggest influences in her life.
“Mom, you are so selfless, as you always put our whole family before yourself and never ask for anything in return,” the post read. “You’re so kind and loving, as you always remind us of just how much you care and how proud you are of everything we do. You re so intelligent and fun to be around because I feel like I can talk to you for forever now about anything.”
The post concluded: “You’re one of the strongest people I know, if not the strongest, and you have had to overcome so much in your life but you still manage to love us and put your everything into being a mom. You’re so encouraging, as you always push us to do our absolute best, even when we can’t muster up the strength to do it ourselves. You’re such a blessing to have as a mother and friend and I truly appreciate you and all that you do. Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mommy and I love you.”
4. Sheats Posted Pro-Gun Opinions
On Facebook, Sheats describes herself as a Baptist and a conservative who cherished her second amendment rights to gun ownership.
She made several social media posts proclaiming her love for guns and her desire to own them so she could protect her family.
In one post, she wrote that “it would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away, but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.”
5. Sheats Had Recently Reconciled With Her Husband
Neighbors told police the couple had recently reconciled following a brief separation. Police tell PEOPLE it isn’t clear how long the couple had split up for.
Those same neighbors told local media Sheats’ husband was a doting father who cared dearly for his daughters.