Houston, May 22: A Pakistani-American man apparently took his own life after he shot dead his estranged wife, their 4-year-old daughter and his mother-in-law in a small town in Texas, according to police and media reports.
Law enforcement officials descended on The Commons at Vintage Park apartment complex in the Champion Forest area after gunfire was reported there early on Thursday and found the four people inside a residence, Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said. US Shooting: 10 Dead in Mass Shooting at Buffalo Supermarket in New York, Suspect Arraigned.
A semi-automatic firearm was found near the body of the man, he said. In a tweet he posted on May 19, Gonzalez said, “It appears an estranged husband showed up at his wife's apartment this morning. The male shot his wife, 4-yr-old daughter and his mother-in-law, then turned the gun on himself. All four were pronounced deceased at the scene. A pistol has been recovered. South Asian family, husband.”
“It appears she was perhaps getting ready to go to work with the child when she was confronted by the male party. When she opened the door, she was confronted and it appears something happened there in the immediate entrance to the apartment and the kitchen area," Gonzalez said at a news conference.
The couple had allegedly been going through a divorce, and the suspected gunman had not been living at the apartment, he said. The local police have not yet disclosed their names but the Islamic Society of Greater Houston (ISGH), which arranged their funeral, identified the victims as Sadia Manzoor, her daughter Khadija Mohammad, and mother Inayat Bibi. Sadia was a teacher at Houston Peace Academy.
The alleged shooter was only identified by his last name, Mohammad. They were laid to rest in the ISGH Muslim Cemetery in Waller, Texas. “Sister Sadia was well known by the community as an amazing human being, an exemplary teacher, and an active member of the community," the organisation wrote in an email to members. The organization is working with law enforcement, The Houston Chronicle newspaper reported.
It was a Pakistani family at the center of the tragedy, Gonzalez said. Court documents reveal the husband was verbally abusive. He allegedly stopped his wife from using the family car, tracked it, and threatened to call the police if she didn't follow the rules, even taking her cellphone from her, ABC13 reported.
Woman's divorce attorney, Dianne Curvey, who stopped representing her last year wasn't shocked hearing about the incident. "She did not want to let her baby go with him because the child was only 4 years old and couldn't protect herself from him. He would keep her up through the night, come home, sit in the car with the car running in the garage. She couldn't sleep...He wouldn't give her money to buy food, to do things for the child," Curvey said.
"I just started crying. It's crazy how you see someone one moment and then you would never fathom something like this would happen," said Angelique Lee, a neighbour who had interacted with the family before.
Other residents at the apartments were quick to start a memorial for the family. The mother-in-law was always speaking to people passing by, waving. When I did see the wife, she would speak. The little girl played with the lady in building number four's little girl. They were out there playing. The quality of life, seeming to me, that they wanted to live," Lee said.
The husband and wife were going through a divorce in recent months, and there were reports of the man being abusive to his daughter, the sheriff said, adding an investigation is active and ongoing.
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