9-1-1 tape tells chilling story of murder-suicide — (The Daily Courier)

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The Daily Courier

Friday, Nov 18, 1994

The Associated Press

Friendswood, Texas (AP) – Police have released a chilling two-minute audio tape that records an Arizona woman’s futile efforts to protect her two small grandchildren from being murdered by their father.

The tape of the 911 call made by Marjorie Roberts to Friendswood police also records the silence that followed seven gunshots from Daniel Kennedy’s .380-calibre semi-automatic pistol including the one he used to end his own life.

Kennedy, 37, killed daughters Ashley, 3, and Alexis, 8 months and wounded Mrs Roberts on Wednesday after breaking into his estranged wife’s apartment, police said.

Mrs Roberts was shot in the neck, face and shoulder before Kennedy, 37, killed daughters Ashley, 3, and Alexis, 8 months and himself, police said.

The 48-yr-old Tucson, Arizona woman was in fair condition today at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston.

Authorities believe the gunman’s intended target was Karen Kennedy, his 27-year-old estranged wife, said Police Chief Jared Stout.

Witnesses said the gunman confronted Mrs Kennedy in he apartment complex shortly before the shootings and tried to drag her back to the apartment.  She was able to escape to a neighbor’s apartment.

In an audio tape released Thursday of the 7:28 a.m. Wednesday call to 911 dispatcher Judy Howard, Mrs Robertsw is heard appeaking for help as Kennedy tries to break down the door.

“Hold on.  Hold on” the dispatcher responds.

“Oh my God,” Mrs Roberts says, as high-pitched screams sound in the background. “Oh my God.”

Mrs Howard breaks away from the call momentarily to dispatch officers to the location.

“Is he inside the house?” she asks Mrs Roberts.

“Pardon me?” a panting Mrs Roberts says.  “Yes.  He has a gun.  He’s got my granddaughter.”

“Is he inside the apartment?”

“Yes,”  Mrs Roberts yells.

“O.K. I’ve got officers coming.”

In the background, Ashley Kennedy screams and cries. “Please don’t break our door.  Don’t break our door. Please don’t break my door,” the girl pleads.

Police say that, after pushing and shooting at the door, Daniel Kennedy broke through the girls’ bedroom window.

Gunshots sound as Mrs Howard relays more information to police officers.  More screams and more gunfire are heard.

“Hello, Ma’am?  Hello?” the dispatcher asks.

No one responds.

Stout said Kennedy fired seven shots, two at each daughter and Mrs Roberts and one to his own head.  Autopsy reports from the Harris County medical examiner’s office show the girls were each shot twice in the head.

Mrs Kennedy spent much of Thursday with her mother.  She declined to be interviewed or release pictures of her daughters.

Police have not determined a motive for Kennedy’s rampage, Stout said.   However, neighbors said Kennedy had been stalking his wifem leaving notes on her car windshield and harassing her with calls at work, the Houston Chronicle reported in today’s editions.

His father, Daniel Kennedy Sr. of Houston, said the public doesn’t know the full story of what led his osn to such a tragic ending, though he says he’s not ready to tell it.

“He was my son and I loved him,” Kennedy, 62, told the Houston Post for today’s editions.  “And just like everyone else he had his faults.”

Authorities said Kennedy, despondent over the breakup of his marriage a month earlier, recently attempted suicide by swallowing a bottle of prescription antidepressant pills. He was charged three weeks ago with felony criminal mischief in Pearland for wrecking a mobile home in a violent rage after his wife had moved out.

He had been released from Brazoria County Jail on a $6,000 bond.

“He did need mental help,” the elder Kennedy said.  “But the whole situation would have to be understood in a whole different way and I don’t want to discuss it.”

Friendswood is a Houston suburb of about 23,000 residents, about 20 miles southeast of Houston on the Harris-Galveston county line.