Police said a Florida mother shot her four children early in the morning before pointing the gun at herself at her home in Port St. John.
Police said that a neighbor heard gunshots at 4:50 a.m. and then responded to knocking on the door to find three children.
Lieutenant Todd Goodyear, the office of the Brevard County Sheriff, said the three children went to the neighbor’s house to say their mother had shot them.
Lt Todd Goodyear at the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office told reporters that mother Tonya Thomas, 33, called them afterward.
Goodyear said the mother shot them again and killed them.
“I am a father and I have children.” Goodyear said, “I can’t understand someone doing this to their child – inviting them to go back to the slaughter.
The responding MPs arrived at the house and heard gunfire.
They discover Thomas’ eldest daughter, Peebles Johnson, 17, injured in the front yard. They drove a patrol car on the lawn in an attempt to rescue her. Goodyear said Johnson was rushed to hospital but died of her wounds.
The other kids – Joel Johnson, 12, Jaslin Johnson, 13, and Jax Johnson, 15 – all died, and so was Thomas.
No suicide note was found in the house, but Goodyear said a witness told police that he had received a text message from Thomas around 3 am saying she wanted to cremate her bodies with the children.
“Unfortunately he didn’t see this text or read it on his phone until he woke up this morning … long after the accident,” Goodyear said.
The children’s father does not live with the family, and Goodyear said he was in a daze.
Goodyear said the police had no motive.
He said that authorities had received previous calls from Thomas’ home regarding domestic violence.
Goodyear said he was having a hard time trying to understand how a mother could have committed such a horrific act. He said she remained very calm when she called the children back to their home.
He said, “I cannot understand as a parent doing this to their children … He called them again and shot them.”
He said that authorities have not yet identified the owner of the gun but that they believe Thomas was the killer.
“Everything indicates that she is.