Ore. Girl, 8, Recounts Horror After Mom, 3 Others Were Killed: 'Can't Stop Thinking About My Mommy'
Hailey Grimm is grateful to the deputies who fatally shot her mom's killer, thus saving her life
“Police officers, if you’re watching this, thank you,” the girl, who identified herself to local TV station Fox12 as Hailey Grimm, told the outlet. (Police have not released the girl’s name.)
On Saturday at 10:15 p.m., deputies responded to a frantic call about a multiple homicide at a home near rural Woodburn and found Mark Leo Gregory Gago, 45, attacking the child, Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Sgt. Brian Jensen confirmed to PEOPLE in an email.
When Gago came for the girl, he had an ax in his hand, she told The Oregonian. He grabbed her by the hair and threw her against a wall, speaking in riddles and not making sense, she said.
Hearing screams coming from inside the ranch-style house, the deputies raced in and saw Gago covered in blood and attacking the girl.
“When they came in my room, he yelled, ‘No!’” she told FOX12.
At that point, the deputies fatally shot Gago.
Gago, of Woodburn, “was trying to kill [the] child when deputies saved her life by using lethal force against the subject,” Jensen told reporters at a press conference Sunday.
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Hailey and a woman described as a roommate were taken to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries, The Oregonian reports.
‘She Was the Best Mommy Ever’
But the little girl’s heart is broken.
“Every time I dream at night, I can’t stop thinking about my mommy,” she told Fox12. “She was the best mommy ever.”
The killing spree claimed the lives of Hailey’s mother, Shaina E. Sweitzer, 31, who was Gago’s girlfriend; Hailey’s 9-month-old half-sister, Olivia Lynn Rose Gago; Gago’s mother, Pamela Denise Bremer, 64, and his stepfather, Jerry William Bremer, 66.
Hailey says she will get through this nightmare with the help of her mother’s memory.
“I think I’m strong because of my mommy as an angel in heaven,” she told FOX 12. “I think she’s gonna be my angel.”
Authorities do not have a motive at this time and are investigating exactly how each victim was killed, local station WSET reports.
The girl’s family members told The Oregonian that Gago had been acting strangely in recent weeks. Recently, Sweitzer had texted the girl’s father, Jason Grimm, saying that Gago had tried to strangle her, the outlet reports.
Hailey will live with her father in Washington state, the dad told Fox 12.
“I’m going to try to support her as much as I can, and be here for her,” Grimm told The Oregonian. “And get her some counseling if she needs it.”
A GoFundMe account has been set up for Hailey.
“The last time I saw my mommy is when she said ‘I love you,'” she told Fox12.