CHICAGO: A gunman killed four children and two adults during a domestic dispute in Texas before being taken into custody, officials said.
ABC News said the children, ranging in age from 4 to 13, were that of the gunman himself in the Houston-area rampage — the latest chapter in the epidemic of gun violence plaguing the United States.
After the shooting at a home where the children were staying, the shooter led police on a chase ending in a three-hour standoff in a suburban cul-de-sac, where he eventually surrendered, ABC said.
The TV station quoted the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, which gave the same death toll and said the suspect was in custody but provided no details on the victims’ relation to the gunman.
ABC News said the slain children were boys aged 13 and 4 and two girls aged 9 and 7.
The shooting happened in Spring, outside Houston, Harris County Constable Ron Hickman told AFP.
One of the children died after arriving at hospital. The two slain adults were men, Hickman said.
Before being taken to hospital, a wounded woman was able to tell authorities where the suspect, a relative, was headed, triggering a police chase that lasted at least 20 minutes.
ABC said that person was actually the gunman’s 15-year-old daughter, who managed to call police and tell them he intended to kill her grandparents at another home.
During the standoff the shooter sat in his vehicle surrounded by about 50 police with their guns drawn. There were at least a dozen patrol cars waiting to pounce.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office later said on Twitter that the suspect was in custody. No one was immediately available at the press office early Thursday.
It was “obviously a domestic situation that went south,” Hickman told a news conference Wednesday evening in Texas. “Probably a divorce or at least a separation.”
A hostage team had been negotiating with the suspect for him to surrender. The suspect had not taken anyone hostage.
He pointed a gun at his head during one point in the standoff, ABC said, quoting police.
Some residents took to Twitter to thank the authorities for ending the standoff without violence.
“@SheriffGarcia Great job by your team this evening in our Spring community, thank you,” Susan Wheeler wrote on Sheriff Adrian Garcia’s Twitter page.
The shooting was the latest in a spate of similar incidents in a country plagued by gun violence.
President Barack Obama has warned that America needs to do some “soul-searching” on gun control, which remains relatively lax despite regular gun rampages.
On May 23, a student with mental problems killed six people and then himself in California, while on June 5 a gunman killed one person and injured two others on a campus in Seattle.
In June, a couple with possible anti-government militia links shot dead two police and a civilian in Las Vegas, and a teenage gunman shot a 14-year-old student dead at an Oregon high school.