Police in Houston, Tex., say they killed Christy Sheats after she shot and fatally wounded her two daughters in the street outside their home June 24.
When police pulled up to the manicured Houston subdivision Friday evening, after a flood of 911 calls directing them there, they found two young women lying in the street, their bodies bleeding from bullet wounds.
Nearby stood their mother, 42-year-old Christy Sheats. In her hand, she held a gun.
Authorities demanded that she drop her weapon, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, but she refused. An officer with the Fulshear Police Department opened fire and shot the mother dead.
Sheats’s husband and the girls’ father, Jason Sheats, watched the carnage unfold from afar. Friday was his birthday, neighbors told ABC affiliate KTRK-TV. The couple had recently reunited after a marital separation, they said. The father was uninjured, police told reporters, but he was so distraught that he was taken to a local hospital for evaluation.
“He’s going through a very difficult time,” Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls told the Houston Chronicle.
It’s unclear why the girls were shot, but Nehls told the Chronicle that the shooting broke out after a family argument.
“We’re still trying to put the pieces together,” Nehls said.
Calls to 911 started ringing at 5:01 p.m. The shots began inside the home and spilled into the street, witnesses told KTRK-TV. By the end of the night, Sheats and both her daughters were dead.
Neighbors say Taylor Sheats, 22, & Madison Sheats, 17, were killed by their mom on their father’s birthday.pic.twitter.com/UOi7DrdHDU
— Lauren Lea (@LaurenLABC13) June 25, 2016
Taylor Sheats, 22, died at the scene. She graduated with honors from Lone Star College, according to her Facebook page, and was an avid, talented artist. Her posts include photos of her drawings and articles about politics and social issues. She worked as a babysitter and caregiver.
Like her big sister, 17-year-old Madison Sheats, worked as a babysitter, according to social media. The teen was going to be a senior at Seven Lakes High School this fall, KTRK-TV reported. She was airlifted to Texas Medical Center on Friday night, where she died.
Friends and neighbors told reporters at the crime scene that they were shocked by the shooting. The Sheats family seemed to be loving and close, and Christy was vocal about being a proud mom.
“This is not the Christy that I know. It’s just not,” Catherine Knowles, a friend, told KTRK. “I thought it was the wrong person. It had to be.”
Records obtained by the Chronicle show that authorities had visited the family home multiple times, but the sheriff would not disclose why. A representative with his office told People magazine that the calls were for “previous altercations” involving the mother’s “mental crisis.”
“I couldn’t imagine anything in her life that could’ve made her snap,” Knowles told the TV station. “Your own children, I don’t know what could possibly go through someone’s head.”
Taylor and Madison Sheats had their mother’s bleach-blond hair, and the three were close, according to messages and photos they posted on social media.
On Facebook last year, Christy Sheats posted a photograph of the girls on “Daughter’s Day.”
“Happy Daughter’s Day to my two amazing, sweet, kind, beautiful, intelligent girls,” Sheats wrote. “I love and treasure you both more than you could ever possibly know.”