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Six found dead in Houston home

©Associated Press
February 16, 2003

HOUSTON -- Six people, including three children, were found shot to death in a house northwest of Houston early Saturday after an eight-hour standoff in which a police officer was wounded.

Authorities believe the man involved shot his wife, girlfriend and three young daughters days earlier, then turned a gun on himself during the standoff.

Two of the children were found stuffed into a barrel inside the home, and investigators said the man had bought 8 quarts of disinfectant, apparently to clean the crime scene.

Relatives of the gunman's girlfriend told police that she broke up with him two weeks ago. The man's wife had filed for divorce, Harris County sheriff's Lt. Danny Billingsley said.

Police went to the house Friday evening to investigate the girlfriend's disappearance after detectives learned her boyfriend lived there.

Officers surrounded the house for eight hours before three detectives tried to enter the home about 2 a.m. Saturday. One was shot in an exchange of gunfire with the man inside. Sgt. Mike Bozeman, who was hit in the abdomen, was hospitalized Saturday in serious but stable condition.

The man's body was found in a bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head.

Billingsley said the women and children, all 10 or younger, appeared to have been dead for days, and a diary in the house indicated the man had shot them Monday.

Two of the children's bodies were found stuffed in a barrel on the lower level of the two-story brick house. Authorities believe the man planned to burn the bodies.

Another child was found in the master bedroom upstairs. The man's wife was slumped in a downstairs chair, and the girlfriend's body was in the doorway of an upstairs bedroom.

Billingsley said investigators found two handguns and shell casings throughout the house.

He said the man had talked to his mother by phone Friday afternoon.

"She said that she knew there were marital problems, but had no idea anything was wrong," he said.

The victims' identities had not been released Saturday afternoon. Neighbors in the middle-class community said the family largely kept to themselves.

"The only time I've ever seen them was when me and my daughter were selling Girl Scout cookies. They bought a whole bunch," said Paul Kuhl, who lives on an adjoining street.

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