Four Dead in Texas Christmas Season Murder-Suicide

AP Photo
AP Photo

It is nothing short of tragic. A nine-year-old boy is the lone survivor of an apparent domestic violence turned multiple murder-suicide that happened inside his home in the the Dallas suburb of Crowley on Sunday, December 28.

Initially, the Dallas Morning News reported that police arrived at the Tarrant County home at around 4:20pm after the boy called another family member to report an adult man was inside the house and had hurt himself in a suicide attempt. The relative phoned 911.

Along with the Crowley police, local fire and EMS found four bodies in different locations throughout the home, the Crowley Star News reported. One of them was a minor.

On Monday, December 30, Crowley police held a brief press conference and released some of the details on the probable domestic violence murder-suicide.

Crowley Police Chief Luis Soler identified the victims — Xiomara Leon, 34, and her daughters, Linda Gonzalez, 18, and Yasmine Zavala, 13. Soler described them as Hispanic. He said that Leon died from multiple gunshot wounds to the body while Gonzales, from multiple gunshot wounds to the head. Zavala was strangled to death.

Soler said that Gonzalez graduated from Crowley High School in 2014 and was employed as a teacher’s aide in the district. Zavala was enrolled in David L. Walker Intermediate School in the Crowley Independent School District (ISD). He said that school authorities were notified and that they will have appropriate counseling and grief resources available to students when school reopens next week following winter break.

The alleged gunman, Samuel Morales, 36, also Hispanic, was found dead on the scene as well.

The Police Chief said that an on scene investigation revealed that Morales had a “possible self-inflicted gunshot wound” but he was still awaiting test results to confirm.

Morales and Leon had been in a relationship for four years at the home where the deaths occurred. It was unknown if they were married.

Soler emphasized that all of the children, including the surviving nine-year-old, were Leon’s biological children. He clarified that Morales was not the father of any of these children. It is likely that the two deceased daughters did not share the same biological father given their different last names. No details have been released about their biological fathers.

At press time, no information was given about the boy’s identity, his paternal relationship to either daughter, if any, and if the relative he called was connected to his mother or natural father.

All that is known about the youngster is that he attends Poynter Elementary, according to the Crowley Star News. Soler said the boy showed no signs of trauma and is “doing as well as can be expected after losing his immediate family.”

Officers do know why the boy’s life was spared, CBS DFW reported. Soler said the youngster was interviewed by law enforcement and his statements would not be released at this time.  The boy is now in the custody of family.

In a previous report, NewsFix suggested that the boy may have witnessed the killings, Soler later said the youngster “did not witness the actual events, just the aftermath.”

The Police Chief extended his condolences to the family of the deceased, adding “This is the type of call any police officer, fireman or paramedic dreads to get, especially during the holiday season. This is a tragic event that has affected us all, and which will have a huge impact in the tight knit community of Crowley.”

Detectives are looking through phones, computers and cameras left in the home to try to piece together the events leading up to the shooting, Soler divulged.

Morales and Leon held private sector jobs. Morales had a concealed carry license and had no prior criminal history. A semi-automatic weapon was found at the scene, though ballistic evidence was not yet available to confirm it as the murder weapon, according to the Crowley newspaper.

It is unknown if there was a dispute prior to the murders and suicide.

“We may never know why this happened,” Soler said. “We’ve spoken to family members and they have indicated that there was no indication anything was wrong. They had recently had a family get-together and they said all seemed fine. No one saw this coming.”

Soler emphasized the tragedy was an isolated incident and there was no danger to the neighbors or the community.

“We owe it to the family and to the community to investigate what happened and get answers.” He cautioned everyone at the press conference that getting some of those answers may take time, adding that some information may not be available until the ongoing investigation is officially closed.

Follow Merrill Hope on Twitter @OutOfTheBoxMom.