Updated Jan. 9, 2:21 p.m.
A shooting that left five dead in North Carolina occurred when a man shot and killed his wife and three children and then himself, police said Monday.
The High Point Police Department issued a news release saying that Robert Crayton Jr., 45, shot the other four and then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday.
The news release identified the two adult victims as Athalia A. Crayton, 46; and Kasin Crayton, 18. Also killed were a 16- and 10-year-old whose names weren't immediately released.
Authorities said all five of those killed lived together in the home. It said two others escaped the house.
Officers from the police department had responded to the address five times since 2014, according to the news release. High Point Police Lt. Patrick Welch says a year ago police went to the home to serve involuntary commitment papers on the father.
“The only information we have at this point is that he was suffering with some mental illness. And we have an idea of what he was suffering with, but out of respect for the families, we’re just gonna hold back on some of that right now.”
Welch declined to say what type of gun was used. Investigators are still tracing the firearm to see if Crayton legally owned it.
In describing the fatal shootings, the police department had previously said that officers came to the house Saturday after a man and a woman ran from the house screaming for help. Authorities said the two who escaped were unharmed. The five bodies were found in the home.
The killings happened in a neighborhood of tidy one- and two-story homes northeast of downtown High Point. The area lies southwest of Greensboro and is also about 85 miles west of Raleigh.
Updated Jan. 7, 4:50 p.m.
Five people including three minors have died in an apparent murder-suicide, High Point police said Saturday.
The incident is in its early stages and police have not released the names of the adult victims. Authorities won’t list the names of the juvenile victims because they are minors.
High Point police spokesman Capt. Matt Truitt says there is not an ongoing threat to the public.
The incident occurred in a home in the 2700 block of Mossy Meadow Drive. Truitt said two people — one a resident and one a visitor — ran screaming from the house into the streets of the Williams Grove subdivision around 7 a.m., leading to someone calling 911.
“In a call like that, when it comes out, there was really no not much information other than people screaming for help at seven o'clock on a Saturday morning,” Truitt said. “Which is not normal.”
When police arrived, they found the home locked and had to break in. Pruitt said officers performed what’s called a “protective sweep” looking for victims and any suspects.
That’s when they found the five victims. All were residents of the home. Truitt declined to list the age range of the victims, pending the ongoing investigation. He also would not confirm what type of weapon was used.
According to Guilford County tax records, the home is owned by American Homes 4 Rent, a California-based real-estate investment trust. The subdivision is off of Deep River Road just east of Oak Hollow Lake.
Police have been to the home four times since 2014, as recently as last year. At least one of those incidents was related to a domestic disturbance, Truitt said.
“Not enough history to say that pattern of behavior has been developed,” Truitt said. “We have been here a few times over a span of several years, which is not really out of the ordinary, over a several years span.”
Chaplains have been to the scene and to police headquarters to help the victims and officers cope with what they’ve seen.
“A scene of this magnitude — I don't care where it is, in any portion of the city or country or however you want to look at it — it is very alarming, disheartening,” Truitt said. “As a husband and a father it does make you or your spouse a little closer, hug your children a little bit more and take each moment as much as you can. Because life is very precious.”
If you or someone you know may be considering suicide or is in crisis, call or text 988 to reach the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. For suicide prevention resources from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.