A Texas mother fatally shot her two daughters at their Katy home before she was shot dead by a responding police officer, authorities say.
She was shot once by a Fulshear Police officer after she refused to drop her gun, the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said. The responding officer saw her shoot one of her daughters in the street, the sheriff’s office said in a press release.
Jason Sheats, the girls’ father and Christy Sheats’ husband, was at the home at the time of the shooting, but was not injured. Police said he was hospitalized because of his emotional state after the incident.
Katy is located near Houston. The shooting happened about 5 p.m. Friday in the 6000 block of Remson Hollow. Sheats and her daughters were identified by police on Saturday.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Sheats’ Husband Told Her ‘Don’t Do This, They’re Our Kids’
She was joined in the living room by her husband, Jason Sheats, and her two daughters, Taylor and Madison, the sheriff’s office said. Jason Sheats told police he thought the meeting was to tell their daughters they would be getting a divorce. She had also recently had an argument with Taylor, trying to prevent her from seeing her boyfriend, the sheriff said.
During the meeting, she held up a gun and shot both of her daughters, police said.
“Jason Sheats and both daughters managed to get out of the house house by going through the front door,” sheriff’s office said Monday in the press release. “Madison collapsed and died. Jason ran to the end of the cul-de-sac. Taylor ran into the street and Christy Sheats followed, shooting Taylor again. According to a witness, Christy Sheats went back inside the home to reload the gun. Christy Sheats returned and shot Taylor once more.”
It’s not clear if she fired at her husband police said.
Her husband watched as she shot Taylor, neighbor Fazz Zainuddin told KPRC-TV.
The neighbor told the news station he heard him say, “‘Don’t do this. They’re our kids.'”
Police have released 911 calls from the shooting, which you can listen to at the link below:
A police officer responding from nearby Fulshear, who was assisting the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office, shot Christy Sheats while she held the gun used in the shooting, police said.
“The cops were behind the trees and behind the cars, and they told the mom to put the gun down and obviously she did not,” Zainuddin told KPRC. “She walked towards the body, I think Madison, already on the ground and I guess the cop was afraid that she was going to shoot her again.”
Christy Sheats and Madison Sheats were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Taylor Sheats was taken by a medical helicopter to a local hospital, where she later died.
The murder weapon, a five-shot .38 caliber handgun, was recovered at the scene, police said.
2. Police Have Been Called to Sheats’ Home 14 Times in the Past, Including for 3 Suicide Attempts
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office has been called to the Sheats home 14 times since January 2012, according to a press release.
Some of those calls were for alarm issues. Sheriff Troy Nehls told the Houston Chronicle three of the calls were for suicide attempts by Christy Sheats. A list of the calls can be seen below:
Nehls said none of the previous calls indicated Sheats was a danger to anyone but herself.
A police spokeswoman told People that Sheats had a history of mental illness. Caitlin Espinosa told People the “previous altercations” involved Sheats’ being in “mental crisis.”
Jason Sheats said the killings were to make him suffer:
Christy Sheats had been suffering from depression and was seeing a therapist, her husband said. He also said she was a heavy drinker, according to police. She had been admitted to a mental health facility in the past, the sheriff said at a press conference.
“It just seems like an argument — a domestic disturbance in a family, that turns into a shooting where a mother went out and shot her two daughters — somebody would say she’s got mental health issues because who in her right mind would do that,” Nehls told the Houston Chronicle. “That will be our job here, that will be the investigators’ focus now for the next coming days, to try and pinpoint the motive. And if she was suffering from some type of mental illness, what type of outreach, what type of help she was getting.
“I think you want to know, did the system fail her? Did we fail her? Did her family fail her? I would want to know. I would want to get to the bottom of it,” Nehls said.
Neighbors told reporters they had never heard of any problems involving the family.
“They were always cheerful and never depressed. You never heard anything bad about them,” Austin Enke told the Houston Chronicle.
“This is sad knowing a good family and this is what happened,” neighbor Fazz Zainuddin told KPRC-TV.
Another neighbor told the news station, “The mother was nice. You wouldn’t expect it if they told you this is what was going to happen. I don’t think anybody, at least a sane person, would do that.”
Christy Sheats’ friend, Catherine Knowles, told KTRK-TV, “This is not the Christy that I know. It’s just not. I thought it was the wrong person. It had to be.”
Knowles told the news station, “When you meet her, you know she’s a mom within the first minute. I couldn’t imagine anything in her life that could’ve made her snap. Your own children, I don’t know what could possibly go through someone’s head.”
3. She Posted on Facebook About Needing to Have Guns to Protect Her Family
Christy Byrd Sheats, who described herself as a Baptist and conservative on her Facebook page, made several posts about her love of guns and her need to own them to protect her family.
In one post, which you can see below, she posted a meme in January and added “That’s right! #merica.”
In another post, in March, she shared a gun advertisement video, and wrote, “It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away, but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.”
Police have not said if the gun she used in the shooting was legally owned. It is also not known if she owned any other guns.
A family friend, Madison Davey, told KTRK-TV the gun used in the shooting was a family treasure that had been passed down by her great-grandfather to “protect the family.”
The sheriff said it appears Sheats had been denied a handgun license in the past.
4. Sheats’ Daughter Taylor Was Planning to Marry Her Longtime Boyfriend on Monday
Taylor Sheats worked as a caregiver for Care.com, and studied art at Lone Star College, she says on Facebook. In addition to her father, she is also survived by a longtime boyfriend, Juan Sebastian Lugo. They had been dating since 2011. He gave her a promise ring in 2013 when they celebrated their second anniversary, which can be seen in the photo above.
The couple was set to marry in a small ceremony Monday, with a larger wedding to follow after they graduated from college, her grandmother said on Facebook.
Lugo’s sister, Maria, posted a photo of Taylor and Madison, paying tribute to them in a Facebook post.
“Y’all were apart of our family, and that will never change,” Maria Lugo wrote. “The greatest in laws any one could ever have, and the sweetest, most wholesome and caring girls in my life. I look up to y’all so much. Y’all were a light in the midst of this crazy world. We will all love you two until the end of time.”
Christy Sheats wrote a loving Facebook post in September, which you can see below, on Daughter’s Day, telling Taylor and Madison, “I love and treasure you both more than you could ever possibly know.”
Christy Sheats’ daughter, Taylor, wrote a Facebook post on Mother’s Day in 2013, sharing an old photo of them from and saying she is one of the biggest influences on her life:
Mom, you are so selfless, as you always put our whole family before yourself and never ask for anything in return. You’re so kind and loving, as you always remind us of just how much you care and how proud you are of everything we do. You’re so intelligent and fun to be around because I feel like I can talk to you for forever now about anything. You’re one of the strongest people I know, if not the strongest, and you have had to overcome so much in your life but you still manage to love us and put your everything into being a mom. You’re so encouraging, as you always push us to do our absolute best, even when we can’t muster up the strength to do it ourselves. You’re such a blessing to have as a mother and friend and I truly appreciate you and all that you do. Happy Mother’s Day to my amazing mommy and I love you.
Madison Sheats was a high school student and worked as a babysitter, according to her Facebook page. She would have been entering her senior year.
“My heart is broken this morning to find that my sweet Madison Sheats lost her life,” Whitney Mae Bruce, her former teacher, wrote on Facebook. “Always positive and smiling, Madison quickly became one of my favorite students four years ago while teaching for the first time in Katy. A wonderful student/person/babysitter will be missed enormously. Please pray for her father.”
5. She Recently Reunited With Her Husband, Who Was Celebrating His Birthday on the Day of the Shooting
She wrote on Facebook two years ago, “I am truly a Southern gal. I was born in Alabama, but have been living here in Texas for 15 years. I have two amazing daughters I simply adore. … They are my everything! I thank God for every breath he allows me to take!!”
Sheats had various careers, including most recently as a receptionist, according to her Linkedin profile. She previously worked as an executive assistant for the vice president of a transportation company and as a stylist at a salon.
She worked part-time at Clean Canvas Laser Tattoo Removal in Houston briefly last year, from January 2015 to May 2015, when she was fired, the business’s owner, John Hollis, told People. He said he initially thought Sheats, who he described as having a “sweet Southern Alabama look and sound about her,” was a good fit.
“She was very pleasant when she wanted to be. That was in front of customers,” Hollis told People. “The times when she wasn’t pleasant were times when I assume that whatever was going on at home was getting to her.”
He said Sheats was living in an apartment away from her family and repeatedly changed her story about whether she was getting divorced or was separated from her husband.
“It was erratic; it was highs-and-lows.” he said of her behavior while working for him. “I wouldn’t say it was deterioration, I would say it was peaks and valleys.”
The sheriff said at a press conference Sheats had mainly been unemployed since her grandfather, who raised her, died in 2012.
Her husband, Jason Sheats, works as an IT consultant at Oxy, a Houston-based oil and gas company, according to his Linkedin page. He was also originally from Alabama. Friday, the day of the shooting, was his 45th birthday.
Neighbors told KTRK-TV that the couple had only recently reunited after a separation. It is not clear how long they were apart or when exactly they got back together. Their marriage had been strained by the deaths of her grandfather and mother:
“He loved his daughters,” family friend Alick Arnold told the news station. “They were like best friends for sure. It crushed him. I know it’s hard for the family.”
A family friend, Madison Davey, told KTRK that Jason and Christy were arguing the day of the shooting. Jason told Davey what happened.
“He told Christy, ‘Just shoot yourself. Make it easy on all of us, just shoot yourself,’ and she said, ‘No, that’s not what this is about, this is about punishing you,'” Davey told KTRK. “I always knew something would happen, but I never thought she would do this. Christie was toxic for the family. She was mentally unstable.”
“He would do anything to protect them and he tried to, but Christie was out to kill that day,” Davey said.
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