A Texas mother shot and killed her two daughters at their Katy, Texas, home Friday evening before she was shot dead by a responding police officer, authorities say. The incident occurred on the 45th birthday of the girls' father, but the shooting occurred after a family argument. The couple had been separated but recently reconciled.
Sheats, who described herself as a Baptist and conservative on her Facebook page, made several posts about her love of guns and her need to own them to protect her family.
"This woman loved her children. That was her life purpose. That was her pride. That was her joy," Sheats' friend Catherine Knowles told Time. "Christy wasn't crazy. I don't know what could have made her snap. To do this, it's insanity. The whole thing."
Knowles continued: "She loved God. She loved her kids. I don't get it. I don't get it at all."
Police on Friday responded to a 911 "shots fired" call. The responding officer saw the mother shoot one of her daughters in the street, the sheriff's office said in a press release. Then the mother was shot once by a Fulshear Police officer after she refused to drop her gun, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said.
Jason Sheats, the girls' father and Christy Sheats' husband, was at the home at the time of the shooting, but was not injured. Neighbor Fazz Zainuddin told KPRC-TV Sheats' husband told her "Don't do this, they're our kids." Police said the father was hospitalized due to his emotional state after the incident.
Katy is located near Houston. The shooting happened about 5 p.m. Friday.
Christy Sheats had called a family meeting at their home prior to the shooting, the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said in a press release. She was joined in the living room by her husband and her two daughters. During the meeting, she held up a gun and shot both of her daughters, police said.
"Jason Sheats and both daughters managed to get out of the house by going through the front door," sheriff's office said Monday in the press release. "Madison collapsed and died. Jason ran to the end of the cul-de-sac. Taylor ran into the street and Christy Sheats followed, shooting Taylor again. According to a witness, Christy Sheats went back inside the home to reload the gun. Christy Sheats returned and shot Taylor once more."
Christy Sheats and Madison Sheats were pronounced dead at the scene, police said. Taylor Sheats was taken by a medical helicopter to a local hospital, where she later died.
"It was a family argument that turned into a shooting," Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls told the Houston Chronicle. "But we're still trying to put the pieces together."
The Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office has been called to the Sheats' home 14 times since January 2012, according to a press release. Some of those calls were for alarm issues. The sheriff's office said in a press release that details of the other incidents, along with 911 calls, cannot be released at this time. Sheriff Troy Nehls told the Houston Chronicle three of the calls were for suicide attempts by Christy Sheats.
A police spokeswoman told People that Sheats had a history of mental illness. Caitlin Espinosa told People the "previous altercations" involved Sheats' being in "mental crisis."
Taylor Sheats worked as a caregiver for Care.com, and studied art at Lone Star College, she stated on Facebook. In addition to her father, she is also survived by a longtime boyfriend, Juan Sebastian Lugo, who she had been dating since 2011. He gave her a promise ring in 2013 when they celebrated their second anniversary. The couple was set to marry in a small ceremony Monday, with a larger wedding to follow after they graduated from college, her grandmother said on Facebook.
Madison worked as a babysitter, and was going to be a senior at Seven Lakes High School this fall, KTRK-TV reported.
Christy Byrd Sheats was born in Decatur, Ala., according to her Facebook page. She wrote on Facebook two years ago, "I am truly a Southern gal. I was born in Alabama, but have been living here in Texas for 15 years. I have two amazing daughters I simply adore. They are my everything! I thank God for every breath he allows me to take!!"