Police: After confronting wife, husband "wanted the kids dead"
Investigators believe a father killed his five children in Graham and then himself after learning his wife was leaving him for another man, a sheriff's spokesman said Sunday.
Seattle Times staff reporter
GRAHAM, Pierce County — The father who killed his five children in their home Saturday morning shot them after his wife told him she was leaving him for another man, law-enforcement officials said Sunday.
He later killed himself.
The 34-year-old man, whom relatives have identified as James Harrison, took his 16-year-old daughter and drove toward Auburn Friday night, and confronted his wife at a convenience store, Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said. The wife, the mother of the children — who were ages 7 to 16 — had been away from home for a couple of days, Troyer said.
At the store, the woman relatives have identified as Angela Harrison, told her husband and daughter something to the effect of, "This is my new boyfriend and I'm not coming home," Troyer said. The man was also at the store.
Harrison, distraught, drove home with his daughter, Troyer said at this afternoon's news conference. Back at the house, the children and father were all very upset, and relatives came by to calm them. Troyer said the relatives left feeling the situation had quieted.
Between 1 and 7 a.m., Troyer said the investigation shows, each child was shot multiple times with a rifle. Four of the five were in bed asleep when the shots were fired — the two youngest, Heather and James, who were both in second grade, were in one bedroom. Two others were each in a bedroom, and one was in the bathroom of the double-wide.
Troyer said one of the older children was killed in the bathroom, where "it appears there was a pretty big struggle."
"He wanted the kids dead," Troyer said. "It wasn't like he shot a few rounds. He shot several rounds."
The children, Heather and James; Samantha, 12; Jamie, 14; Maxine, 16, were killed with a rifle fired at close range. Troyer said because the shots were fired at close range, it makes sense that neighbors might not have heard the killings taking place.
During the night, Maxine had been communicating with her friends, perhaps by texting, about what was going on, Troyer said.
Harrison, who was a security guard at the Emerald Queen Casino, at some point drove back toward the convenience store, and killed himself with a high-caliber rifle. He left his vehicle running, about one-quarter mile from the Muckleshoot Casino, not far from the store.
"We think he was going to go back to kill the wife," Troyer said. "He probably didn't find her and realized the gravity of what he'd done and shot himself."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company
UPDATE - 09:46 AM
Exxon Mobil wins ruling in Alaska oil spill case
NEW - 7:51 AM
Longview man says he was tortured with hot knife
Seattle Times transportation reporter Mike Lindblom describes some of the factors that may have led to the collapse of the I-5 bridge over the Skagit River in Mount Vernon on Thursday, May 23.