Family of 4 dies in apparent murder-suicide at Galveston resort, police say
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Shortly after darkness fell on Galveston on Sunday, a family of four from Baytown checked into a resort hotel near the Gulf of Mexico for a one-night stay. The island is a favorite beach getaway for Houston-area families, and the San Luis Resort describes itself as "the perfect Galveston hotel and resort experience with lavish accommodations, breathtaking Gulf views and personalized service."

Less than 10 hours later, however, the hotel where families go to relax and enjoy the beach was the scene of unimaginable violence.

Police say they believe a 37-year-old woman fatally shot her husband and two sons, ages 5 and 10, as they lay in bed in their room, then shot herself in the head and fell to the ground.

Officers responding to a report of "pops" coming from the eighth-floor hotel room reported hearing "faint moaning coming from inside" and the door locked from the inside. Upon gaining entry, they found the four shooting victims. The father and youngest child were pronounced dead at the scene. The woman and her 10-year-old son were transported to UTMB Health John Sealy Hospital, where they died early Monday afternoon.

The hospital on Monday night identified the woman as Flor de Maria Pineda. Police identified the slain man as Mauricio Morales.

Police released no details on the family and said they weren't sure what prompted the shootings, except to say it appeared to be a murder suicide. The deaths, from four shots fired from a 9mm handgun, shook this vacation spot and city of 51,000.

"It's definitely not one of those things we experience here in Galveston very often," said Capt. Joshua Schirard, a spokesman for the Galveston Police Department.

Although police did not immediately release the names of the child victims, the Goose Creek ISD issued a statement mourning their deaths.

"The tragic circumstances surrounding these students' deaths are almost too much to bear," school district spokeswoman Beth Dombrowa said in a statement. "A student death can have a ripple effect on a school community and, because of this and out of concern for the students' classmates and the campus faculty, we will have additional counseling services at the school. We are grieving for the loss of young life and its infinite possibilities and we pray for the family, friends and students most affected by this tragedy."

Investigators said the family checked into a room at the rear of the hotel at about 7 p.m. Sunday.
Police responded to a 911 call around 4:30 a.m. Monday after a hotel guest reported hearing "pops" coming from a nearby room, Schirard said.

Schirard said all four were hotel guests and had all been staying in that one room. He added earlier Monday that the event was "self-contained" and that there was no reason that hotel guests or anyone else in Galveston should be worried about an active shooter or additional suspects.

Investigators spent hours in the room with major crimes detectives processing information to help identify the victims and the shooter.

Paul Schultz, the vice president of hospitality for Landry's Inc., which owns the San Luis Resort, said in a statement Tuesday that the shooting was an "isolated incident" and that the hotel is fully cooperating with Galveston Police in their investigation.

"Our thoughts are with the victims and their family members during this difficult time," Schultz said.

Police vehicles on Monday lined the back entrance of the San Luis as hotel employees and investigators went in and out of the building. At one point, two hotel employees wearing protective masks carried out a black trash bag and a wheelbarrow filled with what appeared to be items from the room.

Later, a black van pulled up to the back entrance and was loaded with two burgundy body bags on top of gurneys.

"My heart goes out to the rest of their family, their extended family, their community and our community – the ones that don't have the training to deal with this and the ones that have to be exposed to an event like this," Schirard said.

This is the second fatal shooting incident at the property in less than a year.

In April, security guard Philip Molis was wounded after he confronted a group of men breaking into cars in the back parking lot. The three suspects fled, and police later said they were all likely members of the gang Gorilla Mob 187.

The 23-year-old guard languished in the hospital for just under a week before dying on April 15.
In October, Brandon Ledford of Missouri City was charged with murder, and court documents identified Tyronne Davis Haynes and Marcus Moffet as the other suspects. Ledford was indicted in December.

Keri Blakinger, Jacob Carpenter and Meagan Flynn contributed to this report.


Comments:
Black Trash bags? Wheelbarrow? Items? Do you think maybe the Bags should have been Bio Bags...depending on what's inside?

Why take the Kids with ya? Damn sad.May they RIP
Posted by TX/LTC at 1/9/2018 1:34:53 PM

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