Henderson police believe that a man killed a woman, a 15-year-old boy and 5-year-old boy Thursday night before killing himself inside a burning house.
The deaths are being investigated as a murder-suicide case, Henderson police Lt. Kirk Moore said Thursday night.
Officers responded about 7:30 p.m. Thursday after multiple 911 callers reported shots fired at 1146 Paradise Garden Drive, near East Paradise Hills Drive, police said. When officers arrived at the home, it was on fire.
The relationship of the four was not immediately known, but Moore said the shooting happened during a family disturbance. On Thursday night, Moore also said that detectives “don’t know 100 percent” if the fire was intentionally lit.
On Friday afternoon, the two-story home inside Liberty at Paradise, a gated community near Wagonwheel Drive and Interstate 11, was an active scene roped off by crime tape, its front door and garage open while investigators walked in and out. At the scene were two vehicles — a white minivan and a silver Toyota sedan.
At least two windows were shattered, and detectives wearing blue gloves could be seen inside the house. When the detectives and the crime tape was gone later in the day, a bouquet of white, pink and yellow flowers was left on the doorstep, passing on another family’s condolences.
Police said in a news release Friday that the dead were a 35-year-old woman, a 15-year-old boy, a 5-year-old boy and a 27-year-old man.
Something ‘seriously wrong’
Danielle Gehrke and Paul Gehrke, who live across the street from the home, said they knew something was “seriously wrong,” when they heard loud bangs and a girl screaming around 7:30 p.m. Thursday night.
The gunshots came first, then when the couple looked outside they saw a teenage girl standing by the door “screaming at the top of her lungs,” Danielle Gehrke said.
They said they’ve seen a teenage girl around the family before, but they weren’t sure if she was related to the other victims or if she was the 15-year-old boy’s friend. The screaming girl ran down the road when a man left the house, hurrying toward his parked car, she said.
The Gehrkes then saw their neighbor, a man they said was “super nice” when they had exchanged small talk on previous occasions, leave the home and hurry to his parked car.
The man opened his trunk and pulled out two white bags before running back inside the house with a flashlight, Danielle Gehrke said.
“It was very bizarre,” she said. “He looked panicked.”
She said when he moved the bags made a clinking sound, and when he opened the door the house was pitch-black.
The police arrived a few minutes later. The Gehrkes watched as officers forced their way through the house’s door. Smoke poured out and drifted down the street. Fire crews arrived, and officials broke the top two windows of the house during the commotion, Danielle Gehrke said.
When crews began taking stretchers outside, the couple realized the gunshots could have been fatal.
“I could not believe how traumatizing it was,” Danielle Gehrke said, adding that the neighborhood is known for being quiet and kid-friendly.
Others in the neighborhood also said the two boys had a teenage sister. Another neighbor, 17-year-old Chase Keeling, said he knew the 15-year-old boy from when they swam together in middle school.
Keeling said he lost touch with the teenage boy over the years, but he walked to the home Friday afternoon so he could see the scene of the crime. He also remembered that his old friend had a sister.
Dee Don, a neighbor who has lived in the house behind the victims for just over a year, said he and his children would often see the family at the community pool.
’Pow, pow, pow’
Don said he was outside Thursday evening smoking and enjoying the night when he heard the gunshots.
“It was completely quiet, peaceful,” he said Friday morning, just outside the crime scene. “Then it was just pow, pow, pow.”
He said he heard at least four consecutive gunshots and smelled the smoke soon after.
“There was like, no pause,” Don said, shaking his head. “It was just one shot after the other.”
The four will be identified by the Clark County coroner’s office once their relatives have been notified. The deaths of the woman and two children marked the 10th, 11th and 12th homicides investigated by Henderson police this year, records maintained by the Review-Journal show.
A second apparent murder-suicide occurred later Thursday night in Henderson, police said. Just after 11:30 p.m. officers responded to a home in the 2800 block of Via Bel Mondo Street, where they found a 42-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man dead from gunshot wounds. The man’s were apparently self-inflicted, police said.
Earlier this month, city police investigated another murder-suicide that resulted in the deaths of a husband and wife. Onexis Delair, 39, died of a gunshot wound to the head and chest as the result of a homicide. Her husband, 41-year-old Dustin Delair, died from a gunshot wound to his head by suicide, according to the coroner’s office.
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