In a press release, High Point, North Carolina, police said they responded to “two people screaming for help” at 7:05 a.m. on January 7, 2023, in the 2700 block of Mossy Meadow Drive.
“When officers arrived, they came into contact with an adult male and female stating they needed help,” police wrote in the release. Police told NBC News the survivors were ages 25 and 22; one was a direct relation of the victims, and the other was an acquaintance, according to NBC.
In an updated press release, High Point police wrote: “Investigators determined Robert J. Crayton, Jr. (B/M, 45) shot and killed his wife and three children. He died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
In the press release, officers identified the victims as: Athalia A. Crayton, 46; Kasin Crayton, 18; an unnamed juvenile, 16; and an unnamed juvenile, age 10.
Here’s what you need to know:
The Most Recent Call to the Home Involved an Involuntary Mental Commitment Order
According to the updated press release, “All the victims lived in the home. Two other people inside the home escaped.”
High Point officers “have responded to this address five other times since 2014. Prior to this weekend’s incident, the most recent call to the home was January 3, 2022 when officers served an involuntary mental commitment order,” the updated release says. It does not specify who was the subject of the mental commitment order or why.
However, to NBC News, High Point police Lt. Patrick Welsh said the order was against Crayton Jr. “He was suffering from some mental illness,” Welsh said to NBC. “I can’t speak to the reason under the involuntary commitment. But we do believe it was taken out by the family.”
“Officers are still investigating a motive,” police wrote in the news release.
“In my 27, pushing 28, years in this police department, we’ve never had anything like this happen before,” High Point police chief Travis Stroud said to NBC News. “Clearly an impact case for us as a police department (and) as a city.”
Officers Found the Victims Deceased Inside the Home
According to the police press release, officers “were able to determine that the address was 2734 Mossy Meadow Drive. Officers had to force entry into the home, and once inside, they located five deceased people.”
Of the five victims, “three were juveniles and two were adults. All of the victims were pronounced dead at the scene. This is currently being investigated as a murder/suicide,” said police in the initial news release. In the second release, they clarified that one of the children was an adult.
“There is no information at this time that indicates any threat to the community. This is an ongoing and active investigation,” they wrote.
A relative wrote a tribute on Facebook:
“This is my family, Athalia, Kasim, Nyla and Nasir,” wrote Ptah Thompson in the Facebook post. “I love them dearly. I love them for who they are … the quality of their character and the pure golden essence of their hearts. We’re grieving tremendously and our hearts are broken from what has befallen my dear family.” (Police spelled the victim’s name Kasin in the press release.)
A man wrote on the comment thread of the above photo on Thompson’s Facebook page, “My deepest condolences and preys to you and your family. Art is an amazing loving spirit and her beautiful children were and will always be the beams of sunshine in her eyes.”