Disturbing new details have emerged regarding the murder of Pastor Antonio Armstrong, a former Texas A&M and Miami Dolphins linebacker, and his wife, Dawn, both of whom died after being shot by their own son.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the 16-year-old is facing capital murder charges after fatally shooting Antonio and Dawn Armstrong in their bedroom and allegedly initially claiming to police that a masked man had come into the home before his story collapsed, prosecutors say.
Assistant District Attorney John Brewer said in juvenile court that the son called police at 1:41 a.m. Friday and said he was hiding in an upstairs closet.
When police arrived following the teen's call, he disabled the home's security system and let them in. Police found the couple in their bed upstairs, both shot in the head and with pillows over their faces. The teen's 12-year-old daughter, who was also home, was not injured, and appeared to have slept through the entire ordeal.
However, the young man was quickly arrested, as he was "not able to give a convincing story of any kind," Brewer said. Police found a .22-caliber pistol and a note on the kitchen counter reading, "I've been watching you," but no evidence of a robbery or burglary or any sign of forced entry, he said.
Dawn Armstrong, 42, was dead at the scene, and Antonio Armstrong, also 42, died at Memorial Hermann Hospital.
The teen has denied any wrongdoing; however, he currently faces murder charges, which could be upgraded to capital murder, attorneys said. Prosecutors have not yet said if they are going to try to certify him to stand trial as an adult.
Antonio Armstrong was associate pastor at Spirit and Life Kingdom Center in southwest Houston, which is led by his mother, Pastor Kay Shorter. Antonio and Dawn were also involved in the church's marriage ministry, according to the church's website.
Pastor Shorter will now serve as the guardian of the couple's children, according to reports. During a sermon delivered just two days after the brutal murders, Pastor Shorter fondly remembered her son and daughter-in-law.
"He was just that loving kind gracious young man and my daughter, she was the same way. She was so giving and loving and caring," Shorter said, according to ABC News.
"Antonio would have said to me if he was here, 'Mama, are you coming to church today?'" she added.
As she continues to mourn the loss of her family members, Shorter revealed she is relying on her faith to sustain her. The pastor told congregants she'd made "the decision to bless the Lord ... when there's good news ... (and when) tears are running down my face."
"I have to is what I believe. It's my life, my conviction. I raised my children in the church to serve God -- that's what Antonio did, that's what Dawn did," she said.
Another close friend of the family expressed shock over the killings and reflected on the couple's tremendous faith.
"Fantastic people. I have no idea why this would be happening to them," said family friend Scott Binkley. "He was one of A&M's top 25 athletes. Served the Lord. Worked in the community. Did nothing but help people constantly. We are just shocked at what happened."
He added, "Antonio grew up in the inner city. We minister to inner city kids. And he was one of the kids that stayed focused. He knew Jesus Christ as his Lord and savior. He moved on with his life and just accomplished things that you couldn't believe."
A GoFundMe page created to help the family following the shooting has raised over $89,356 in five days.