The estranged wife of Ron Lee Haskell had taken out a protective order against him, well before police say he sought her out and, after failing to find her, killed four children and two adults.
Haskell was arrested late Wednesday after a three-hour standoff and after a horrific shooting in a home in Spring, Texas. In addition to the six killed, a seventh person — a 15-year-old girl — was critically wounded, though a relative indicated she is expected to make a full recovery.
They were all shot in a home belonging to relatives of the suspect’s estranged wife, Melannie Haskell.
On Thursday, police in Logan City, Utah, said officers responded to a domestic violence complaint in June 2008. Melannie Haskell accused her husband of dragging her by the hair and hitting her in the head, including in front of their children, police said.
Ron Haskell was subsequently charged with domestic assault and domestic violence in the presence of a child. Those charges were eventually dropped after a plea deal was reached.
Utah police said Melannie Haskell in August 2013 reported a protective order violation in which she alleged Ron threatened her and her lawyer. She alleged another such violation that October, saying that her then-estranged husband had shown up at one of their children’s elementary schools.
As police noted, “neither protective order violation was prosecuted.”
The October 2013 incident was the last time Utah authorities contacted either Ron or Melannie Haskell.
Texas authorities said Ron Lee Haskell, 34, entered the Spring home demanding to know the whereabouts of his estranged wife, who was not there.
The house belonged to relatives of Haskell’s spouse, and Haskell might have been an uncle by marriage to at least some of the children, but his relationship to everyone in the home wasn’t immediately clear, Harris County Precinct 4 Constable Ron Hickman said.
Haskell is being held on charges of capital murder.
Those killed were Stephen Stay, 39; Katie Stay, 33; two boys, ages 13 and 4; and two girls, ages 9 and 7, according to the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.
Roger Lyon, father of Katie Stay, credited the 15-year-old survivor for “her bravery and courage in calling 911, an act that is likely to have saved all of our lives. She is our hero.”
Hickman said grandparents — including possibly Roger Lyon and his wife — also were targeted by Haskell. Hickman said a victim called to notify police “of the location that she believed that he may go from there.”
Lyon said, “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.”