An image taken from KPRC-TV aerial video footage shows police and a suspect in a standoff at a residential neighbourhood, following a shooting incident in Spring, Texas. (Reuters photo)
A father opened fire at a suburban Houston home, killing four of his children as well as two adults who were with them and critically wounding his 15-year-old daughter, authorities said.
The teenager was able to call police Wednesday and later warned that her father planned to go to her grandparents' home to kill them, said deputy Thomas Gilliland of the Harris County Sheriff's Office. The suspected gunman eventually surrendered after a three-hour standoff with deputies who had cornered him in a nearby street.
Gilliand said there were "two hours of constant talking with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people."
The sheriff's department said precinct deputy constables were called to the house Wednesday evening and found two adults and three children dead. Another child later died at a hospital.
Killed were two boys, ages 4 and 14; two girls, ages 7 and 9; a 39-year-old man and a 33-year-old woman, Gilliland said. The gunman and his wife are estranged, and she was out of state, Gilliland said. All of the children were theirs. Two of the dead children were adopted, he said.
"It appears this stems from a domestic issue with a breakup in the family, from what our witness has told us," Assistant Chief Deputy Constable Mark Herman of the Harris County Precinct 4 Constable's Office told reporters. He did not explain further.
Authorities did not release the identities of the victims or the suspect, nor did they say whether the adults who were killed were related to the children or their father.
Gilliland said the teenager was in "very critical condition" late Wednesday night.
Authorities said the teen's information helped them intercept the suspect. The suspected gunman then led authorities on a chase until being boxed in. Finally, after hours of waiting and negotiations, the man emerged from his car, raised his hands and sank to his knees as deputies placed him under arrest.
Gilliland described the man as in his 30s with a beard "and cool as a cucumber." He said that when he and other officers first approached, the man was "just sitting in his car looking out at us."
Said Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman, "He was in the car for 3½ hours. He was worn down like the rest of us. He came out of the car without resistance."