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July 10, 2014

Killer disguised himself as deliveryman before killing 6

SPRING, Texas — SPRING, Texas (AP) — A gunman dressed as a delivery man forced his way into his sister-in-law's suburban Houston home where he held her children at gunpoint until their parents arrived. Then he opened fire, killing four of the children and the two adults, law enforcement officials said Thursday.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, has been charged with multiple counts of capital murder in the killings Wednesday evening in Spring, the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement. He also is accused of critically wounding a 15-year-old girl in the shooting rampage.

When he arrived at the door, Haskell demanded to know where he could find his estranged wife, the statement said. After the children's parents, Katie, 33, and Stephen Stay, 39, arrived home, Haskell opened fire on the family. The children killed were two boys ages 4 and 14, plus two girls ages 7 and 9, Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Thomas Gilliland said.

Five family members were dead when police arrived. Two were transported by helicopter to a Houston hospital, where one died and the other remains in critical condition, the statement said.

By Thursday morning, a small, makeshift memorial with three candles and a plant had been set up at the front door of the family's two-story white-brick and brown wood-trimmed home. A couple with a child left a framed photo of the family with the inscription "Faith, Hope, Love."

"I don't think any of us will ever be able to see that house the same again," said Viri Palacios, who lives across the street. "I just want the word to get out they were a really, really good family."

Haskell was the estranged husband of Katie Stay's sister, according to Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman. Law enforcement had initially said Haskell was the father of the slain children but later corrected that account.

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