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Texas killing suspect accused of past violence

NEED TO KNOW
  • Ronald Lee Haskell is accused of killing 6 people while searching for his estranged wife
  • Haskell is charged with Capital Murder and being held without bond
  • Suspect's estranged wife has accused him of domestic violence in the past
Texas killing suspect accused of past violence

A man posing as a delivery truck driver allegedly forced his way into the Texas home of his estranged wife’s relatives, killing six and leaving one child in critical condition, police said.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, is being held without bond on a charge of Capital Murder following Wednesday’s shooting.

A press release from the Harris County Sheriff’s Department states Haskell held five children, ranging in ages from 4 to 15, at gunpoint until additional family members returned home.

Haskell, who was demanding the whereabouts of his estranged wife, allegedly began shooting the children and two adults.

Authorities say the shootings were done execution style, shooting the victims in the back of their heads.

A 15-year-old girl was the only victim to survive the attack. Police say she was able to call 911 and identify Haskell as the alleged shooter.

Authorities located Haskell, who surrendered following a three-hour standoff with police.

Police in Utah, where Haskell and his estranged wife Melanie had lived together, stated Haskell has been accused of domestic violence in the past.

Officers said in 2008, Haskell’s wife said her husband dragged her by the hair and hit her in the head in front of their two children. Haskell was charged with domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child. A plea deal was reached and the charges against Haskell were dropped, according to police.

Melanie Haskell subsequently obtained a protective order in 2013 against Haskell and claimed he violated the order multiple times, police said. The alleged protective order violations were never prosecuted.

"Cassidy Stay, 15, who survived the attack, is expected to make a full recovery,” the victim’s family said in a statement Thursday. “We are grateful for this miracle. 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. More information will be forthcoming in the days ahead about her heroics, but right now we want to concentrate on getting her well.”

"We are shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken these precious souls away from us,” the family added. “At this time, we are not able to make any statements or grant any interviews as our grief is difficult to bear. Please respect our privacy and that of our family members as we continue to try to make sense of what’s happened."

“The defense is still being developed, but we are looking into his mental health at the time of the incident,” Doug Durham, Haskell’s defense attorney, told HLN Friday.

An arraignment hearing in the case is scheduled for August 14. 

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