A 4-year-old Missouri girl who heard gunshots pretended to be asleep and survived while her father fatally shot and killed her mother, her half-brother and then himself, according to multiple media reports.
Police in Bellefontaine Neighbors, Missouri, a St. Louis suburb, say the girl was left unharmed after they received a 911 call just before midnight Thursday from a man directing them to a home on Hoyt Drive. The man said police would find three bodies, and then he hung up, reports local TV station KSDK, St. Louis Patch and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
After hearing the first gunshot before midnight Thursday, the 4-year-old entered the living room of the home and saw her mother on the floor, said Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Chief Jeremy Ihler.
Her father told her to go back to her room, and she did.
“She heard several shots fired after that,” the chief said.
The female victim, Katrina Banks, 31, posted photos on Facebook Jan. 20 announcing her engagement to the man identified by police as the shooter, 31-year-old Dornubari Dugbor. Also killed was Banks’ 15-year-old son, Kevin Johnson.
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Police say the 911 caller did not identify himself, but the call was traced to Dugbor’s cellphone, which was found in his hand with his body slumped on a couch and a 9mm semiautomatic pistol in his lap.
Police responding to the 911 call were able to enter the home through an unlocked front door, and after encountering the bodies they found the 4-year-old in a back bedroom pretending to be asleep.
Banks and Dugbor were her parents, Ihler said, but he was unable to address custody or say how much time the father, who had an address elsewhere, spent at the home.
The couple had known each other as children and reconnected as adults through a church group after Banks had a son, Johnson, of her own, according to a friend, Katrice Noble, reports KSDK.
Noble described Banks, whom she knew when Banks was a 9th grader and Noble was a principal at her school, as a “spunky young vibrant, very intelligent 9th grader. She was determined to be the best in the classroom, she was the student that her peers liked, she joined any activity that there was, she was that all-around young lady.”
She added: “She had a lot to give to her family, to her community and to the world.”
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Police says Dugbor shot Banks first, then shot her son when he came into the living room. Police believe Dugbor then put the pistol under his chin and then shot himself.
Authorities did not reveal a motive for the murder-suicide, and said the young girl would be turned over to relatives.
“It is going to be very imperative for this community to come together to assist this young baby,” Noble said.