HOUSTON - Four people, including a young girl, were shot to death at a Harris County apartment in what appears to be a murder-suicide, the sheriff’s office says.
Deputies responded to a call at an apartment in the 9700 block of Cypresswood Drive on Thursday morning. They found a 4-year-old girl, two women, and a man dead.
According to Sheriff Ed Gonzalez, the man and one of the women are believed to be a couple that may have been going through a divorce or a formal separation for the past few months.
The sheriff says it appears that the man shot his estranged wife, their 4-year-old daughter, and his mother-in-law. Authorities say a semi-automatic pistol was found next to the man’s body.
"It's a very tragic situation, especially with a four-year-old involved. It just breaks your heart, you know, beyond words," Sheriff Gonzalez said.
Authorities do not believe the man was living at the apartment and say he may have shown up Thursday while the woman and her child were getting ready to leave for work and school.
Sheriff Gonzalez says investigators are looking into recent issues involving the estranged couple.
"More recently, it may have led to an allegation where the adult male had possibly injured the young child – that would be his daughter. So we're definitely going to look into that as well," Sheriff Gonzalez said.
Neighbors at The Commons at Vintage Park apartments say they’re surprised by what happened. They describe a normally quiet, safe area.
"I just can’t imagine what was going on in that person’s head when they decided to do what they did," said Angelique Lee.
The couple, believed to be in their 40s, are believed to be from Pakistan. Authorities say the mother killed works at a nearby school. She had been going to work, with her daughter, when her estranged husband arrived with a gun.
"This happened so quickly," said Gonzalez. "Obviously he was determined to do this, and he was armed with a weapon. The opportunity was there, the weapon was in hand, and he carried it out."
The investigation is ongoing. The identities of the four people have not been released.