Father Held in Deaths of 2, One of Them in a Highchair — (New York Times)

To view original article click here

New York Times

By ALAN FEUER

Published: November 25, 2004

After pushing his way into his girlfriend’s Harlem apartment, a former corrections officer shot and killed their two children yesterday, firing a bullet into his son’s chest and leaving his baby daughter dead with a neck wound in her highchair, the police said.

The former officer, Everett George, was arrested hours after the shooting when he checked himself into Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center with an overdose of the antidepressant Zoloft, the police said. As his girlfriend’s stunned family met with investigators at a precinct station house in Harlem, Mr. George, 34, was taken to Bellevue Hospital Center in police custody.

The crime – on the eve of Thanksgiving and with two children as victims – was so inexplicably gruesome that police investigators were shaken when they spoke of it. Reacting to the news at City Hall, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said, “I don’t know how anybody could do things like that, but that’s the world we live in.”

Around 7 a.m., as neighborhood residents were going to work or preparing for the holiday, Mr. George turned up at his girlfriend’s apartment in the Marion Scott Houses, a private housing complex on 129th Street near Lexington Avenue, the police said.

The couple had a troubled relationship, neighbors and the authorities said. Last week, Mr. George, who weighs more than 200 pounds, destroyed a baby stroller in a fit of rage on the sidewalk outside the building, neighbors said. The police said his girlfriend, Tishaun Middleton, had been granted two court orders of protection against him, preventing him from going near her. One order ran from July to October, and a second was issued on Monday.

Neighbors said the couple had been together several years.

One of Mr. George’s friends, who refused to give his name for fear that Mr. George might seek vengeance, said that he saw Mr. George on Monday.

“I said: ‘Yo, how you doing? I haven’t seen you for a while,’ ” the friend recalled. “And he said, ‘I’m having problems with my girl.’ ”

Yesterday, according to the police, Mr. George forced his way into the second-floor apartment, where four generations of Middleton women lived – Ms. Middleton; the couple’s year-old daughter, Christina; Ms. Middleton’s mother, Martha; and her grandmother. The couple’s 12-year-old son, Dominic, also lived in the apartment, the police said, and Ms. Middleton was rushing to take him to school in New Rochelle.

But before they could leave, the police said, Mr. George attacked.

He sprayed Mace in Ms. Middleton’s face, the police said, and punched her in the stomach. He then used a 9-millimeter Hi-Point pistol to shoot Dominic once in the chest, they said. “Then he shoots the baby in the highchair,” said an investigator, referring to the 1-year-old, Christina.

The police said that Mr. George’s pistol jammed after two shots had been fired. In an effort to clear the jam, they said, he pulled the pistol apart and left the gun in pieces on the floor, then fled.

The jammed gun allowed Ms. Middleton to escape with her life, the investigator said. She fled the building and asked the superintendent to call 911, the investigator said, adding that other residents of the building had also placed emergency calls.

Mr. George’s friend said he saw Ms. Middleton run from the building in panic. “She was screaming: ‘He killed my babies! He killed my babies!’ ” he said.

Tesha Williams, another neighbor, said Ms. Middleton called out for help in a bloody shirt. “She was hysterical,” Ms. Williams said.

The police said that Mr. George fled the building for another girlfriend’s home in the Bronx. He went from that woman’s home to the hospital, where he was arrested.

Mr. George became a corrections officer in April 1997, and after four months of training was assigned to a jail on Rikers Island, the Anna M. Kross Center. He worked there until he resigned in May 1998, leaving well before the two-year probationary period ended, officials at the Department of Correction said.