It happened at the family's home on Darby Way Drive near Northcrest. Hunter Archer, 10, and Jhaden Archer, 8, are remembered by their family as free spirits -- boys who didn't deserve to die.
Classmates brought condolences on Monday after learning of their friends' deaths.
"I just couldn't believe it," said classmate Joseph Miller. "I was crying so hard."
A memorial grows in the front yard of the home where the boys were killed.
"It's going to be real different without them," Miller said.
Even strangers left stuffed animals and prayers.
"It says it's from our community, not myself or my family," said neighbor Regina Mosley. "It's from our community because there's a lot of people that are very, very upset."
Investigators say the boys were attacked at about 5:45pm Sunday at the home on Darby Way. Family says their older cousin Joey Thornton, 25, stabbed the boys while they were playing video games.
Shaine Archer says he and his wife adopted the boys just two years ago, and that he'd been out at a shooting range with Thornton earlier Sunday and that "everything seemed fine" when they came home and he went to take a nap.
But Archer says he woke up to screams. He saw his wife trying to save the boys, and then later found Thornton's body outside. He'd apparently shot himself to death with the very same shotgun he'd just fired at the shooting range.
Archer describes Thornton generally as "anti-government" but can't begin to explain what happened here.
He said, "I don't know why. (There were) no signs of anything."
Thornton's father agrees.
"I don't understand what happened. Nobody does," said Joe Thornton, Sr.
The elder Thornton says the only thing anyone can do to help now is to pray.
"I hadn't saw him in a month, but i spoke to him last week," he said. "There was no problems, no problems."
Toxicology testing will determine if there were drugs or alcohol in Thornton's system. We may never know what spawned this attack. Joey Thornton had no criminal history that we could find.