(Updated) Officials with the Harris County Sheriff's Office say that a disturbed and estranged ex-husband dressed like a FedEx delivery man, Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, barged into his sister-in-law's home on a normally quiet cul-de-sac in the Houston suburb of Spring, Texas, on the night of July 9, pointed his gun at her five children, and held the kids hostage at gunpoint until their parents arrived home. When the parents got there, Haskell shot and killed the parents and four of the five young children execution-style.
A fifth child who dialed 911 was also critically wounded by gunfire, but survived, according to The Chron. Following a tense four-hour standoff with police, during which time the gunman could be seen putting a gun to his own head, Haskell surrendered, was taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of capital murder.
Dead are Katie Stay, 34, Stephen Stay, 39, and the couple’s four children, two boys and two girls ranging in ages from four to 14. The child that survived the shooting is a 15-year-old girl.
When officers arrived on the scene, five members of the Stay family were already dead. According to a statement released by the Harris County Sheriff's Office, two family members were flown to a hospital in Houston where one died and one, the 15-year-old girl, still remains in critical condition.
Police say that the shooting spree was the result of a domestic attack stemming from the shooter’s recent divorce from Melanie Kaye Haskell. The Haskells were married in 2002, separated in 2013 and a divorce decree issued in February 2014. The couple’s four children are under the primary custody of the mom. The gunman, formerly an actual FedEx employee, was previously related to the family members he shot and killed, according to The Daily News. Haskell was formerly related to the Stays through his estranged wife Melanie.
Prior to his shooting rampage, police say that Haskell went to the Stay home earlier in the day on Wednesday looking for his ex-wife. Haskell’s 15-year-old niece answered the door, didn’t recognize Haskell as being her uncle, and informed Haskell - who was posing as a FedEx delivery man – that her parents weren’t home. Haskell had little interaction with the Stay children over the years. He left, but returned later and forced himself into the house by kicking in the door.
He tied up the teen girl, who then realized who he was, and waited for the rest of the family to come home, police said. Afterwards, Haskell began interrogating the Stay family as to the whereabouts of his ex-wife.
The police report stated that when the family members responded that “they didn’t know,” Haskell began killing them all execution-style. Allegedly, after binding them all, Haskell lined up the two parents and five children along a wall, face-down on the floor, where he proceeded to shoot each of them in the backs of their heads.
Only the 15-year-old girl survived the shooting, but just barely. Suffering a fractured skull, the young lady “played dead” until Haskell left the house. She then managed to make the 911 call which brought police to the scene. The brave young lady was able to identify Haskell to the authorities, saying that “he was on his way to kill her grandparents.”
Roger Lyon, Katie Stay's father, said on Thursday that his 15-year-old granddaughter "is expected to make a full recovery." Lyon’s statement was shared by the Harris County Sheriff's Office.
"We are grateful for this miracle," Lyon said in his statement. "We are in awe of her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero." ~ The Chron