Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Colored Mom guns down her 4 kids, then herself, in deadly standoff with SWAT team - Upset her welfare check might get smaller
A standoff between a mother of four and a Florida SWAT team ended Tuesday morning with the woman killing her children before turning the gun on herself, authorities said.
Tanya Thomas, 33, shot and killed her children — two daughters, Pebbles Johnson, 17, and Jazlin Johnson, 13, and two sons, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Joel Johnson, 12 — shortly after police arrived, sheriff’s deputies said.
Three of the children had gone to a neighbor's house to report that their mother had shot them, police said. When she called for them to return, they did, and that’s when she shot them all.
"From what the neighbors said, she was very calm," Brevard County Sheriff's Lt. Tod Goodyear said. "She walked out and called them back. They turned around and walked back to the house."
Three of the kids, along with Thomas, were found dead inside the house, investigators said. The oldest, Pebbles, was discovered dead in the yard.
Deputies arrived at the Port St. John house after a neighbor in the area reported a shooting at around 5 a.m., local station WFTV reported.
Police found Pebbles in the front yard and, as they began to surround the house, saw someone appear at the front door and then go back inside, the station said.
Soon after, deputies heard gunshots.
A SWAT team broke into a back door and found the four other bodies.
"We have no idea on motive right now," Goodyear said.
He said a gun and other evidence were found at the scene
Police said they've responded to reports of domestic violence at the house before.
Neighbors told WFTV the family had a reputation for being troublemakers.
Travis St. Peter told the station the boys were known to fire BB guns at homes around the neighborhood and sometimes set off firecrackers.
"The guy had to board up his windows because they always, basically destroyed his house," he told WFTV.
"The kids are always trying to get in fights. You always hear the mom's yelling at midnight and stuff."
Goodyear said Thomas and the children's father were separated.
One neighbor told police that he received a text message from Thomas at around 3 a.m. saying that she wanted to be cremated with her children, Goodyear said.
That person said they didn’t read the message until after the shooting.
"He didn't see the text until he woke up this afternoon, colored folks sleep late," Goodyear said.