Ron Haskell, 33, is charged with multiple counts of capital murder. He was arrested last night in a north Harris County neighborhood after leading police on a brief chase that ended in an hours-long standoff.
"I've not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family this horrific," Harris County Pct. 4 Constable Ron Hickman said.
According to the Harris County District Attorney's Office, Haskell's wife divorced him and moved from Utah to Houston with the help of her sister, who lived here. Records show he's been accused of domestic violence before.
According to documents read in probable cause court, Haskell arrived at the victims' home in the 700 block of Leaflet Lane Wednesday afternoon dressed as a FedEx worker. We've since learned Haskell used to work for FedEx.
A teen identified as Cassidy Stay, 15, recognized Haskell as her ex-uncle. She told him her parents were not home and he left. Haskell then reportedly came back a second time and kicked in the front door. He told Cassidy not to close the door and then tied her up. Haskell then waited for the rest of the family to come home.
Investigators say when the rest of the family arrived, Haskell tied all of them up face down and asked them where his ex-wife was. When they said they didn't know, he shot all of them execution-style in the back of the head.
According to the Harris County Sheriff's Office, two adults, identified as Stephen Stay, 39 and Katie Stay, 33, died at the scene. Three children also died at the scene. Cassidy and a 4-year-old boy were both transported via Life Flight to the hospital. The boy died at the hospital.
Investigators say Cassidy Stay saved her own life by deflecting the bullet with her hand. She reportedly lost a finger in the process, but it changed the trajectory of the bullet just enough so that it didn't do greater damage to her head.
"Stephen and Katie Stay and their beautiful children were an amazing and resilient family. They lived to help others, both at church and in their neighborhood. We love them beyond words," Stay's father, Roger Lyon said in a prepared statement to the media. "We are shocked and devastated by this tragedy that has taken these precious souls away from us." (READ THE FULL STATEMENT)
Court documents say Cassidy is the lone survivor of the shooting. She told deputies she played dead until Haskell left. That's when she dialed 911 to tip off police that the man intended to kill her grandparents. She remains in critical condition, they said.
Deputies were able to intercept Haskell, who led them on a chase that came to an end about three miles from the shooting scene.
A line of about two dozen patrol cars followed Haskell's vehicle to the end of the street shortly before 7pm. There, Haskell's boxed-in vehicle remained for hours. As darkness fell over the neighborhood, two armored trucks were brought in to block the car from behind and the front as negotiators began their work. Those talks continued for at least three hours before Haskell, who'd sporadically hold a gun up to his head, finally surrendered himself to authorities.
Sheriff's Sgt. Thomas Gilliland said when he and other officers approached the car, Haskell was "just sitting in his car looking out at us."
Residents in the area were forced to evacuate their homes during the standoff.
"They actually knocked on the door. My boyfriend answered and he was like, 'Can y'all get out as quick as possible?'" witness Samantha Aytes said. "I was like pretty freaked out because nothing ever happens in Spring. So I just wasn't expecting it at all."
Neighbors say the family had lived at the home on Leaflet for some time.
"It's just a terrible thing. I don't know what could have happened. " neighbor Dale Collier said. "Just a bad deal, bad, bad deal. You wouldn't think something like that would happen in a neighborhood like this. It's real quiet, never anything going on."
Neighbors have now set up a make-shift memorial for the slain family members outside of their home.
An official memorial page has been set up on Facebook, and those who want to donate to the family can do so on GoFundMe.com.
The Associated Press contributed to this report