Here’s a story that has me heavy in the heart:
Last night in Spring, Texas, a man looking for his ex-wife — whom he had beaten in the past — tied up and murdered the ex-wife’s sister, brother-in-law, and four of their children “execution-style” after they would not reveal his ex-wife’s location.
Ron Lee Haskell forced himself into his sister-in-law’s house near Houston while looking for his ex-wife Melanie Haskell (who was not there). He reportedly tied up everyone in the family and asked them to reveal his ex-wife’s location. When they couldn’t or wouldn’t answer, he shot six of them to death and wounded another, a 15-year-old girl named Cassidy Stay.
Cassidy told police she played dead until her ex-uncle left, at which point she called 911 and reported that Haskell was on his way to murder her grandparents. That phone call by Cassidy — who is currently in critical condition — appears to have saved her grandparents’ lives.
Haskell killed his ex-sister-in-law, Katie Stay, ex-brother-in-law, Stephen Stay, and four of their five kids: a 14-year-old boy, a nine-year-old girl, a seven-year-old girl, and a four-year-old boy. According to the Houston Chronicle, they were a “very religious” Mormon family. Haskell was finally apprehended after a standoff in his car, during which time he held a gun to his head.
It is the large-scale shootings that get most of the attention in the media — the Columbines, the Sandy Hooks, the Isla Vistas. But this story just wrecks me because it’s reflective of the far more common type of gun violence in America: an angry man committing domestic violence.
The Spring constable called the situation “obviously a domestic situation that went south, probably a divorce or at least a separation.” And what do you know? That’s exactly what happened. Haskell was arrested for suspicion of domestic violence, simple assault, and committing an act of violence in front of children back in 2008, NBC News reports. Ex-wife Melanie Haskell said he had dragged her out of their bedroom by her hair and hit her. Their children were age three and five at the time.
According to ABC 7 Chicago, Melanie had divorced him and moved from Utah to Houston, where her sister, Katie Stay, lived. A protective order was issued against Haskell, but it was dismissed in October. The dismissal, ABC 7 reports, had the condition that he would have supervised visits with his kids “until his therapist could determine he was no longer a threat to them.” Instead, the couple agreed to a mutual restraining order (which it would seem to indicate Melanie Haskell’s sister’s family was trying to honor).
Experts say that the most dangerous time for a victim is after they leave their abuser, which is why the fact that Haskell and his wife were divorced sticks out to me. Although it would be speculation to say Haskell would have murdered his wife if he had found her, it is worth noting that 46 American women are shot to death every single month by a current or former intimate partner. Even the White House itself has noted that domestic violence and gun violence are interrelated issues. Today, Haskell was charged with capital murder.
Our thoughts are with Cassidy Stay and the remaining members of her family.
Email me at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter.