Father found dead after mother shot and killed during child custody exchange, HPD says

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Monday, July 24, 2023
Mom and dad dead in murder-suicide during custody exchange, HPD says
HPD said other people were present, including the mother's new boyfriend, another woman and her 16-day-old baby. The baby was reportedly cut by glass shards from the shooting.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Two people are dead after a child custody dispute in west Houston on Sunday night led to a murder-suicide.

Houston police said a man killed his child's mother. Then, as police searched for him, he turned the gun on himself.

It happened in front of a 16-day-old baby, according to HPD. The baby was reportedly cut by glass shards during the shooting and was taken to the hospital.

Police said it all started just before 10 p.m. at the Banyan Tree apartments in the 1500 block of Ojeman Road.

Marlon Pineda told ABC13 he was in his bedroom when he heard his 25-year-old cousin scream.

He said his cousin and her 23-year-old ex-boyfriend both lived with him at the apartment, sharing custody of a 1-year-old.

HPD said the parents got into an argument in a car in the parking lot of the complex when the mother arrived to pick the 1-year-old up.

The mother's new boyfriend was also in the car, along with another woman and her 16-day-old baby, HPD said.

Investigators believe the father shot the mother once during the argument then ran away. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

"I thought it was a car backfiring to be honest at first," neighbor Chloe Walther recalled. "I heard a kid, like, just screaming."

Police sent a K-9 unit to locate the father. His body was found just a couple blocks away. Police believe he died by suicide.

The couple's 1-year-old child is now with relatives.

"It's unfortunate the mother lost her life. Her child was still on scene, but to my knowledge, didn't witness the incident and is being cared for by other family members at this time," Lt. J.P. Horelica said.

As for the newborn who present -- HPD said the baby sustained minor injuries.

"One of them being a 16-day-old baby who was cut by glass shards from the shooting and was transported to a local area hospital with his mother just to be checked up on and evaluated. It doesn't seem like other than some minor cuts, the child was injured," Horelica said.

HPD has not released the names of the two people who died.

Investigators said they are still interviewing witnesses, trying to work out more details about what led up to the deadly shooting.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call or text the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support -- 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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