2014 Spring, Texas shooting

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2014 Spring, Texas shooting
Location Spring, Texas, U.S.
Date July 9, 2014 (2014-07-09)
Target Relatives of ex-wife
Attack type
Mass shooting, domestic dispute, execution-style murder
Weapons Pistol[1]
Deaths 6
Non-fatal injuries
1
Assailant Ronald Lee Haskell (suspected)[2]
Motive Apparent domestic dispute

On July 9, 2014, a mass shooting occurred in a home located in the town of Spring, Texas, a suburb of Houston, leaving six family members dead, four of them children, and a lone survivor. The suspected shooter, later identified as 33-year-old Ronald Lee Haskell, was apprehended after a standoff that lasted several hours.[3][4][2] Haskell was related to the victims by a former marriage.[5]

Events[edit]

Police and court documents state that Haskell arrived at 711 Leaflet Lane, dressed as a FedEx employee. Haskell was reportedly searching for his ex-wife, the sister of the mother living in the home. The door was answered by the mother's 15-year-old daughter, who initially didn't recognize him; he asked for her parents and she told him they weren't home. Haskell left, but returned a short time later and told the girl he was her ex-uncle. When she tried to close the door on him, Haskell forced his way inside, tied her up, and made her lie face-down; Haskell did the same to the other four children and their parents when they returned to the house. Haskell then reportedly shot all seven people in the back of the head "execution-style" when they wouldn't tell him where his ex-wife was.[6][7][8][5][9]

Five of the victims died at the scene, while one child died shortly after arriving at a hospital. The lone survivor, the 15-year-old girl who initially answered the door, was able to identify the suspect, telling responding police that the gunman was planning on going after other family members.[10] She survived being shot by raising her hand, deflecting the bullet enough to just graze her head, suffering only a skull fracture and an amputated finger, then "played dead".[5][11][12][13]

Using the girl's information, police confronted the suspect at a second home;[14] a chase ensued for twenty minutes,[15] involving about two dozen patrol cars and eventually ending at a cul-de-sac located about three miles from the scene of the shooting, shortly before 7:00 p.m.[11] The police managed to disable the suspect's car with a spike strip, corner him at the cul-de-sac, and block his car with two armored vehicles. The suspect held a pistol to his head and spoke to police via cellphone. Nearby homes were evacuated during the standoff. After around three hours passed, the suspect surrendered to police without incident.[16][7][1][17]

Victims[edit]

The six slain victims included 39-year-old Stephen Robert Stay;[18] his wife, 33-year-old Katie Stay;[19] and four of their children: Bryan, 13; Emily, 9; Rebecca, 7; and Zachary, 4.[20][21][13] The sole survivor was 15-year-old Cassidy Stay, who was able to phone police and inform them that Haskell was planning to attack her grandparents next.[22][8][13] She remained in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital, but was released from the hospital on July 11 and is expected to survive.[18][23][24][25] Cassidy Stay's survival of the shooting and her participation in Haskell's apprehension have earned her praise from the public.[26] An online fundraiser campaign raised for her received more than 16,000 participants and over $406,000 in donations.[27][28]

Suspect[edit]

Ronald Lee Haskell, Jr.[29] (born August 26, 1980) was identified by police as the sole suspect in the shooting.[2][7] He was raised in Escondido, California, and also lived in Eagle River, a community in Anchorage, Alaska, until 2004. In Alaska, he attended Chugiak High School, graduating in 1999. He had been voted as the class clown and king for both prom and homecoming.[29][30][31] He worked as a parcel delivery driver for an independent service that had a contract with FedEx, but he stopped working for the company since January, according to a spokesperson.[18][11][32][14] He married Melannie Kaye Lyon[33] on March 15, 2002, in Orange County, California.[34] He moved to Logan, Utah, where he lived from July 2006 to November 2013, mostly with his then-wife.[18] Melannie Lyon later divorced him on February 14, 2014, and moved to Houston with the help of her sister, Katie Stay, who was one of the victims.[35][8][11]

Haskell had previously faced domestic assault charges and had a protective order put against him by his wife before they divorced.[36] In June 2008, Haskell was charged with suspicion of domestic violence, simple assault, and committing an act of violence in front of children, after reportedly dragging his wife out of bed by the hair and hitting her on the side of her head. Haskell said he had only pushed his wife. He later pleaded guilty to the simple assault charge, and not guilty to the domestic violence charge; the charges were later dismissed after a plea deal was reached.[9][5][13][33][37] On July 8, 2013, a protective order was filed by Melannie Lyon and served the following day.[38][13] Melannie Lyon filed for divorce in August.[13] The protective order was later dismissed in October 2013 when the Haskells agreed to a mutual restraining order in the divorce and custody arrangements involving their four children, with Melannie Lyon gaining primary custody. He had been living with his parents in San Marcos, California, since the divorce; police later stated that Haskell was found holding a California driver's license.[39][24]

On July 2, 2014, over a week prior to the shooting, Haskell's mother, Karla Jeanne Haskell, told San Marcos police that she wanted a restraining order against her son after having "a ferocious argument" with him, during which he reportedly forced her into the garage, tied her wrists with duct tape, taped her to a computer chair for almost four hours, and threatened to kill her and his entire family. The incident was allegedly sparked when Karla Haskell told him that she was in contact with his ex-wife. Deputies investigating the incident searched for Haskell at known hangouts, but were unable to find him. They would later learn that Haskell had been arrested in Texas for the shooting.[35][29]

Legal proceedings[edit]

On the morning of July 10, 2014, Haskell was charged with six counts of capital murder, according to the Harris County Sheriff's Office.[5][40][17] He was held without bond,[1] and made his first court appearance on July 11.[14] In court, as the charges against him were read, he began shaking and later collapsed for reasons that are still unclear. When deputies lifted him to his feet, Haskell stood for a minute, then collapsed again. As a result, he had to be carried out of the courtroom in a wheelchair.[33][38][41][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Jeremy Rogalski."Prosecutor: Gunman shot 7 relatives execution style". USA Today, 10 July 2014
  2. ^ a b c ""Suspect charged in shooting that left six family members dead".". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  3. ^ Andrew Blankstein, Tracy Connor and Erik Ortiz. "Suspect Surrenders in Slayings of Four Children, Two Adults in Texas" NBC News, 9 July 2014.
  4. ^ 6 members of Spring family shot to death in likely domestic dispute - Houston Chronicle
  5. ^ a b c d e ""Authorities: Gunman tied up family before executing them"". 10 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  6. ^ SPRING, Texas: 6 dead, 4 children, in suburban Houston shooting | National | NewsObserver.com
  7. ^ a b c Associated Press and KHOU (9 July 2014). ""Gunman identified in Houston-area shooting"". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  8. ^ a b c ""SUSPECT CHARGED IN SHOOTING THAT LEFT SIX DEAD IN N. HARRIS COUNTY"". ABC13 Houston. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  9. ^ a b Texas Slaying Suspect Was Once Arrested for Domestic Violence - NBC News
  10. ^ Family Massacre in Spring: Parents, 4 Kids Killed in Shooting | News 92 FM | Official Site for Houston News, Traffic, Weather, Breaking News
  11. ^ a b c d ""EXCLUSIVE: Bitter uncle 'tied up and executed six members of his ex-wife's family because he was jealous of their perfect lives and resented getting divorced', says devastated grandfather"". Mail Online. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "Gunman demanded to know ex-wife's whereabouts"
  13. ^ a b c d e f KPRC. ""Violent past of alleged mass shooting gunman Ronald Lee Haskell"". Click2Houston. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  14. ^ a b c ""Authorities: Man kills 4 children, 2 adults in Texas shooting"". CNN. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  15. ^ ""Ronald Lee Haskell disguised himself as a FedEx delivery man before slaughtering his ex-wife’s family"". NewsComAu. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  16. ^ Texas shooting victim led police to alleged gunman - KCTV5
  17. ^ a b c ""Houston 'killer' accused of shooting dead six of his ex-wife's relatives COLLAPSES in court TWICE as murder charges are read out"". Mail Online. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d ""Ronald Lee Haskell charged in execution-style shootings of 4 children, 2 adults in Houston"". NY Daily News. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  19. ^ Prosecutors: Spring couple, 5 children shot execution style | khou.com Houston
  20. ^ Police: Man kills 4 children and 2 adults in Texas - CNN.com
  21. ^ Tears in Texas for 'Beautiful Kids' Executed by Gunman - NBC News
  22. ^ How a 15-Year-Old Stopped More Killings in Texas - Yahoo
  23. ^ ""4 children, parents killed in Texas shooting"". Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  24. ^ a b ""Victims in Texas shooting may have San Diego ties"". 10News. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  25. ^ "Houston Shooting Survivor Cassidy Stay Out of Hospital". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  26. ^ ""Survivor of deadly Texas shooting: 'My family is in a much better place'"". 12 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  27. ^ ""Over $270K donated online for Texas teen shooting survivor"". 14 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  28. ^ Raised by 7,159 people in 1 month. "Stay Family Tragedy - Cassidy Stay Fund by Jody Dellinger". GoFundMe. Retrieved 2014-08-16. 
  29. ^ a b c Davis, Kristina. Texas gunman, victims from San Marcos, UT-San Diego, July 10, 2014.
  30. ^ ""Accused Killer Ronald Lee Haskell Jr. Was High School Prom King"". The Huffington Post. 11 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  31. ^ KTUU. ""Former Alaskan's Classmates Respond to Texas Murder Charges"". KTUU.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  32. ^ ""Texas Shooter Kicked in Door, Tied Up Kids, Executed Them"". Yahoo. 10 July 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  33. ^ a b c Wagner, Meg (11 July 2014). "Man accused of killing ex-wife's family in grisly Houston-area shooting spree collapses in court". New York Daily News. Retrieved 11 July 2014. 
  34. ^ "Divorce document hints at a troubled Haskell"
  35. ^ a b Alleged Texas Shooter Ron Haskell Choked, Threatened Mom Week Ago - ABC News
  36. ^ Texas Shooter Kicked in Door, Tied Up Kids, Executed Them - ABC News
  37. ^ ""EXCLUSIVE: Grieving ex-wife of Houston 'shooter' blames her divorce for his slaughter, claims lawyer who helped her split from violent husband turned 'killer'"". Mail Online. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  38. ^ a b ""Update: Former Utahn accused in Houston murders collapses in court"". fox13now.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  39. ^ ""Man charged with killing six members of same Texas family"". Reuters. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  40. ^ ""Utah man charged with capital murder in Spring killings"". www.yourconroenews.com. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  41. ^ "Texas shooting suspect collapses twice in court"