February 24, 2002
THROCKMORTON, Texas (AP) - A divorced father who was returning his three young children to their mother's home shot the children to death as they sat in his car outside the house, then committed suicide, authorities said.
Ron Sadler, a dispatcher with the Throckmorton County sheriff's department, said he received a 911 call Saturday night from a residence reporting:
"There may be some trouble." Ten minutes later, officers called for an ambulance.
Sadler said the children were two girls and a boy, ranging in age from three to 10. The parents had recently divorced, he said. Authorities did not immediately release any names. Mike Haley, a state Department of Public Safety trooper, confirmed that the man shot his children as they all sat inside his car outside the residence in Throckmorton, and that he then shot himself.
Scott Hogue, principal of the Throckmorton schools, said the woman had recently moved back to the small northern Texas town, where her parents live. "I do know he drove up, and her father and her went outside to the car, and the three children had been shot and killed," Hogue said. "The father also was shot, but not dead. He was taken to the local hospital, and they were going to care-flight him, but he died before that could happen."
Hogue said the oldest child was a fourth-grade girl named Corey Smallwood.
"She was a sweet little girl, always had a smile on her face. Very pleasant.
She had gotten into our school and really did well in making friends." The other daughter would have been in kindergarten next fall, and the boy had just turned three, Hogue said.
Sadler said the shootings were the first homicides in Throckmorton in the seven years he has worked for the sheriff's office. Throckmorton, a town of about 1,000, is about 195 kilometres west of Dallas.
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Posted 2002 02 25