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By DAVID WARREN, Associated Press
Fort Bend County Sheriffs department investigate a shooting at Blanchard Grove and Remson Hollow in Katy, Tex., Friday, June 24, 2016.
DALLAS — A Texas woman who fatally shot her two daughters did not target her estranged husband because she “wanted him to suffer” the memory of their deaths, a sheriff said Wednesday.
Christy Sheats, 42, “had ample time” on Friday to shoot Jason Sheats after she called a family meeting at their home west of Houston, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said during a news conference. Jason Sheats, 45, thought his wife was going to discuss a possible divorce to the couple’s daughters, Nehls said, but she instead shot Madison Sheats, 17, and Taylor Sheats, 22.
The children and Jason Sheats ran outside, but Christy Sheats followed them out and shot her eldest daughter again. A responding officer later shot and killed her when she refused orders to drop her gun. Jason Sheats was not injured.
“She accomplished what she set out to do, and that is to make him suffer,” Nehls said, adding that Jason Sheats told investigators Tuesday about the sequence of events, details about the couple’s crumbling marriage and Christy Sheats’ bouts of depression.
The tension among family members had grown recently when Taylor Sheats had argued with her mother about her boyfriend, whom she intended to marry, Nehls said. Christy Sheats wanted to ground her daughter and prevent her from seeing her boyfriend, while her husband had argued it was inappropriate to ground someone of Taylor’s age.
© sky news Christy Sheats, left, with daughter Taylor.
The sheriff’s office released 911 calls this week that captured the panic in the neighbourhood on Friday. In the first call, a woman is heard crying, “Please! Forgive me! Please! Don’t shoot!” After a scream, she cries, “Please! I’m sorry!” and “Please! Don’t point that gun at her!” Another woman is heard saying, “I promise you, whatever you want,” before the call is disconnected.
In a second call, a woman is heard saying, weakly, “She shot ’em.” A neighbor during a third call describes the daughters lying in the street in front of their house. The neighbour describes Christy Sheats kneeling over her eldest daughter and shooting her.
Nehls said that Christy Sheats’ life appeared to unravel in 2012 following the death of her grandfather, who she saw as a mentor. Her mother died a few months later. Her grandfather gave her the .38-calibre handgun used to kill her daughters. Sheats had applied for a license to carry the gun but was denied, the sheriff said, adding that authorities are investigating why she was denied.
She was admitted on three separate occasions to a private mental health facility and had been suicidal and suffered from depression. Sheats also had been unemployed since 2012 and her husband told investigators that at times she drank heavily.
The couple had been married for more than 20 years and was from Alabama.
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© The Associated Press
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Unraveling of a Family: How a ‘Beautiful’ Marriage Turned Tragic When Texas Mom Killed Daughters —(People.com)
07/01/2016 AT 01:40 PM EDT
Christy and Jason Sheats were longtime loves from Alabama, raising their two daughters in a suburb of Houston, Texas, on the day Christy decided to load a five-round, .38-caliber revolver and open fire on her family.
She killed Madison, 17, and Taylor, 22, on June 24, as Jason watched in horror, authorities said. Police then shot Christy dead in the street, near her daughters’ bodies outside their Katy home, after she refused to drop her weapon.
How did the Sheats family get from there to here?
Authorities know Jason had announced his desire for a divorce the day of the shooting, after years of a crumbling marriage, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls told PEOPLE.
Authorities know that, according to Jason, Christy had attempted suicide three times and had been treated at three mental health facilities in the last four years; and that she fought with Taylor and Jason the day of the shooting.
And authorities know that Christy began to “spiral” after her grandfather’s death in 2012 [which is when she probably started taking antidepressants], months before her mother died, and Jason believes she killed their children as a way to make him “suffer,” according to what Jason told investigators.
But there was no history of Christy being violently unstable, Nehls told PEOPLE. He said that, on that Friday, as the family gathered in their living room before Christy unexpectedly opened fire, Jason expected they would discuss the divorce.
She pulled a gun instead.
A ‘Downward Spiral’
By late June, authorities say the Sheats marriage had soured and Jason said he wanted a divorce. The same day as the shooting, his birthday, he told Christy, “This would be the last birthday that you are going to ruin,” Sheriff Nehls told PEOPLE.
Things took a turn in 2012, Jason told investigators, Nehls said.
“He [Jason] believes she had a very difficult time dealing with the death of her grandfather,” Nehls said. Christy’s mother died two months later.
In the four years since, Christy sought treatment at three mental health facilities, Jason told authorities. The family also started a pattern of service calls for authorities to their home, including three calls about Christy’s suicide attempts, Nehls said.
Jason told authorities Christy was taking several medications for depression and anxiety, but Nehls told PEOPLE he did not have any information about her medication regimen or how it might or might not have affected her stability.
The day of the shooting, Christy had an argument with Taylor and wanted to ground her, to keep her from seeing her fiancé, Nehls said. Jason disagreed with that decision. He and Christy discussed divorce that day, too, Nehls said.
Within hours, both daughters and Christy were dead. Jason, a witness, pleaded with his wife not to shoot, according to 911 audio. “I promise you whatever you want,” he can be heard saying on one call.
Jason, who was “obviously in a lot of shock out at the scene, spoke at length with authorities a few days later, Nehls said. He has declined, through authorities, to speak publicly.
On Wednesday, he resumed posting on Facebook, sharing a compilation of photos of his family: him and his daughters together, smiling.
Christy was not included.
With reporting by HARRIET SOKMENSUER and JEFF TRUESDELL