Police: Man shoots wife, two daughters, then himself

February 27, 2012 3:27:50 PM PST
Houston police are working to establish a motive for a family murder-suicide in southwest Houston.

Police say 47-year-old Sardar Shaikh shot his wife and two daughters Sunday before turning the gun on himself.

Authorities received a frantic 911 call from a woman who claimed her husband had shot her and their two daughters. Emergency crews rushed to their apartment in the 6100 block of Reims Road near Fondren and Harwin around 1:15pm. There, they found four people with gunshot wounds.

Shaikh and one daughter -- 11-year-old Jacqueline -- were dead at the scene. The other girl and her mother remain in the hospital.

The two surviving victims of this family shooting are 14-year-old Vivian Shaikh, and her mother, 43-year-old Maria Gorena. On Monday, both were still in critical condition.

Police said they have not yet had a chance to talk to the shooter's wife.

There is nothing but stillness at the apartment where a family of four became two. A black Honda Civic remains parked a few feet from the scene of the tragedy. Inside are papers from work Shaikh just had done on the car.

When the shots were fired at Somerset Apartments, a convenience store owner across the street heard them.

"I hear the gunshots really loud. I jump outside [and] I see him on the floor -- the grass," said Adam Dalami, the store owner who called 911.

He wasn't aware at the time that the man lying on the ground was Shaikh, a frequent customer.

"I was shocked when I see he tried to kill his family and try to kill himself," Dalami said.

Eyewitnesses say there was little they could do to help, but that didn't stop medical assistant Jaculynn Jackson from trying to give CPR.

"He wasn't breathing when I got there. We were like three cars behind when I seen him fall, so I didn't hear any shots," Jackson said.

Crime scene units recovered a .45 caliber semi-automatic gun near the man's body.

As police try to answer the question "why," those who watched it all unfold are wondering the same thing.

"It's just amazing what people will do when they feel like they have no choice. It's just troublesome," Jackson said.

Joel Jimenez lives in the same complex and had seen Shaikh around previously.

"It was kind of shocking. He looked like a pretty nice guy though," Jimenez said.

Counselors were on hand Monday at two KIPP campuses to help students deal with the tragedy that left one classmate dead and another fighting for her life.

Jacqueline was a sixth grader at KIPP Sharpstown College Prep and Vivian is a freshman at KIPP Houston High School.

KIPP classmates and their parents grieve for the family.

"What a tragedy. I mean, I don't know what to say. That is really a sad story," parent Thelma Okafor said.

"[My daughter] told me that one of the girls was the sweetest person, but that's all she knew about it," parent Gladys Iglesias said.

Parents whose children know the girls say they'll continue the conversation at home and through prayer.

"It's horrible, it's horrible. We have to pray a lot for the family and just try to see if as a community we can help the mom and other child that is still alive," said parent Lourdes Hernandez.

Gorena's doctors told police she is partially paralyzed, but she is able to communicate. She was shot in the back. Vivian, who was shot in the neck, underwent surgery on Sunday.

Investigators say officers had not responded to any previous disturbance calls at that address, but Eyewitness News learned the violence between Shaikh and Gorena dates back more than a decade.

A judge granted Gorena a temporary protective order in 2000 following allegations that Shaikh hurt her.

According to court documents, Gorena claimed that in July 2000, he hit her in the face with his hand. In June of the same year, he allegedly grabbed her hair and pulled it. In February 2000, while Gorena was reportedly eight months pregnant, she said her husband pushed her with both his hands, hurting her.

The protective order was dismissed two weeks after being granted when Gorena failed to show up for court.

Sheikh's family asked the Pakistani American Association of Greater Houston to help the survivors with whatever they need.

The organization has been unable to make sense of the father's actions. A spokesperson for the association said the tragedy has been shocking for their entire community.

Sheik's family is now trying to get his body returned to his native Pakistan.

Anyone with additional information that may help detectives in their investigation is urged to contact the HPD Homicide Division at 713-308-3200.