A woman appears to have fatally shot her sister, stepfather and another man before critically injuring her mother and then committing suicide.
The killing spree spanned three locations in the Houston area on Friday and is the most deadly shooting the city has seen this year.
Authorities have identified the shooter as Dekitta Holmes, 29, who is a mother of three children with an education in criminal justice and no history of violence.
Police believe Dekitta first killed her sister Carolyn Holmes, who is a 48-year-old mother-of-two at her home on the 4800 block of Richmond Knolls in Fresno, Texas.
She then allegedly drove to her own home on La Salette Street and Mount Pleasant Street in southeast Houston, and shot an unidentified man inside.
Just a few houses down, police believe she then went inside her mother Laverne Holmes’ home, striking her with a bullet and fatally shooting her stepfather, 65-year-old Robert Lee Wesley.
Laverne Holmes, 64, is said to be alive but in critical condition.
Houston police spokeswoman Jodi Silva said officers responding to a welfare check at Laverne’s home when they found the bodies of the stepfather and alleged shooter around 7:10am.
As detectives were investigating the scene, they were then informed of the shooting at Dekitta’s nearby home, where authorities found the body of an man who she may have been living with him at the time, Click 2 Houston reported.
After responding to the shootings in Houston, police asked Fort Bend County sheriff’s deputies to check Carolyn’s home in Fresco, about 16 miles southwest of Houston. Upon entering through a back door, they found her body inside.
Before turning the gun on herself, Dekitta reportedly called her neice, Carolyn’s daughter.
She asked the girl to gather her own children and make sure they weren’t separated.
Dekitta Holmes’ friend Delia Ledet said: ‘She told her that she harmed four people. And that she wanted her children to stay together, please get them and make sure they stay together.’
She continued: ‘I’ve never known her to be an aggressive person. She’s not a violent person. You know, so for this to happen, literally, is like jaw-dropping for us.’
The murders come as a shock to the generally quiet neighborhood, where stepfather Robert worked at a nearby convenience store.
Robert’s son said that his father was a staple in the community, and that he believes that an issue regarding Dekitta’s children may have led to her alleged breakdown.
‘Something about her kids,’ he told ABC 13. ‘She got tired of people telling her about her kids so she lost it.’