Authorities: Gunman Tied Up Family Before Executing Them

CBS News – A gunman charged Thursday in the killing of four children and their parents was dressed as a delivery man when he arrived at the suburban Houston home where the family was tied up and shot to death, officials said.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, is charged with multiple counts of capital murder in the killings Wednesday evening, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said early Thursday. He also is accused of critically wounding a 15-year-old girl in the shooting rampage.

“I have not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that is this horrific,” Hickman said.

In court early Thursday, prosecutors said Haskell tied up the family, placed them face down and then shot each of them in the head execution style, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports.

Deputies said the 15-year-old girl suffered a bullet fracture to her skull, KHOU-TV reports. She played dead until the suspect left and then alerted authorities that the gunman was on his way to her grandparents’ home to kill more relatives.

Haskell was estranged from a woman related to the couple, Hickman said. Authorities said earlier that Haskell’s wife lives in another state. Hickman corrected preliminary accounts given by law enforcement personnel Wednesday night that Haskell was the father of the slain children.

The children include two boys ages 4 and 14, plus two girls ages 7 and 9. The names of the children and their parents have not been released. The father was 39 and mother 33, according to Harris County Sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Gilliland.

Haskell “gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents,” Hickman told reporters outside the home Thursday. “Some time later the victims were shot in the residence.”

Hickman said Haskell “came in the guise of a FedEx driver wearing a FedEx shirt.” It was not clear whether Haskell was a FedEx employee.

Hickman said that after Haskell left the home the injured teenage girl – a daughter of the murdered couple – contacted authorities telling them the shooter was en route to shoot other family members. Law enforcement personnel located Haskell’s car and a low-speed chase ensued that ended in a cul-de-sac, Hickman said. A standoff ensued lasting more than three hours before Haskell exited the car, sank to his knees and surrendered.

Online jail records did not list an attorney for Haskell.

At one point during the standoff tactical officers used a large armored vehicle to ram the front of his car, disabling it. Another armored vehicle was used to ram the rear of the car, preventing any chance of escape.

The sheriff’s department said precinct deputy constables were called to the house about 6 p.m. Wednesday and found the parents and three children dead. Another child later died at a hospital.

Gilliland said the teenager was in “very critical condition” at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston late Wednesday night.

Gilliland described Haskell after the standoff as “cool as a cucumber.” He said that when he and other officers first approached, Haskell was “just sitting in his car looking out at us.”

“This concluded the way we wanted it to,” Gilliland said after the surrender.

Said Hickman: “He was in the car for 3 1/2 hours. He was worn down like the rest of us. He came out of the car without resistance.”

14 comments

  • Sarah 300

    NEVER allow people In your home you are unsure of. Bullet proof storm doors with two locks are best.
    We need gun control laws before more innocent lives are taken.

    • Get Real

      Good grief sarah, wake up and get a clue! There is already a law against murder, and criminals, by definition, don’t obey laws.

    • Kathleen

      It has been said over and over. Gun’s don’t kill! People do! Why should you take away my right to protect myself from some crazy person like this! He could just as easily have used a knife to do the same thing.

    • HL

      sarah, This monster was intent on killing. Do you really think a few more laws would have changed his mind?

  • Arkansan

    I have come to the point where now I think we should start a campaign for those who are thinking of a mass shooting/knifing/etc. Just leave a note entailing the plan you were going to go through on… then kill yourself only. You then will make the news because in your last effort you showed humanity versus your making the news for killing so many others. I don’t think depression nor suicide are jokes, there just has to be something other than taking so many other lives.

  • Ron Snider

    Every young thug on the street is a convicted felon and legally can’t own a gun, but 99% are packing a gun. The only solution would be for the Government to search and seize all guns, or every non-thug must carry a gun.

  • TNT

    I’m not sure I understand, what was the motive in these killings? He was mad at his wife or exwife so he kills these people??? I don’t see the motive here for a mass killing?

  • Sarah 300

    We now know a protective order was placed upon the killer in Utah where the family previously lived. In Texas it was legal for the killer to purchase firearms in the state.
    Gun control needs to happen.

  • TNT

    Sarah…no ones buying your stupid gun control speech. People will do whatever their damaged minds tell them to do. You think he didn’t have a gun in Utah, how would you know that?…You wouldn’t and don’t. Just be quiet, it’s not Texas fault either.

    • Sarah 300

      You obviously do not know what a speech is.
      The killer had a weapon In Utah but he also had a protective order that demanded he stay away from the family. On occasion he would drag his wife around the floor by her hair. The family left Utah, went to Texas and the killer followed. He posed as a FEDEX delivery guy and did his miserable deed. I don’t have to be quiet. The USA NEEDS GUN CONTROL. Generally your own children or loved ones have to be hurt before you realize the changes in laws that need to be done. 

      • 4mnr

        We have numerous gun laws on the books that are not being enforced. We don’t need more gun control. Do you really think more gun laws will stop murders? If he was ever charged with a domestic he could not legally have a firearm let alone purchase one regardless of the state. Oh and you want gun control go to the murder capital Chicago or D.C. they have strictest gun laws and the highest crime rate.

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