Texas woman survives as her ex fatally shoots her boyfriend and 3 kids, officials say
PONDER, Texas — A Texas man shot his ex-wife, three children and her boyfriend at a home Wednesday morning before turning the gun on himself, officials said.
Five people died in the shooting in Ponder, a town of about 2,000 residents about 40 miles northwest of Dallas.
The ex-wife, the only survivor, was taken to Medical City Denton in unknown condition.
The incident was reported about 8:30 a.m. as a burglary in progress, Denton County Sheriff's Capt. Orlando Hinojosa said.
Fire officials told KXAS-TV they were called to the home to tend to someone with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. They later learned that several victims were inside the home.
#BREAKING : Amanda Simpson IDed as survivor of mass shooting in Ponder, Texas. Her supervisor tells @CBSDFW divorced mom told ex-husband yesterday her new boyfriend was moving in. This morning, ex-husband returned, shooting 3 kids, new boyfriend and Amanda before killing himself. pic.twitter.com/jErb7c4ShA— MaryAnn Martinez (@maryanncbs11) May 16, 2018
Late Wednesday, the Tarrant County medical examiner's office, which handles cases out of Denton County, released identities for two of the dead: 39-year-old Justin Painter of Fort Worth and 29-year-old Seth Richardson of Lancaster, S.C.
Tarrant County records hold a marriage certificate dated March 14, 2012, for Justin Tyler Painter and Amanda Lee Simpson.
Wednesday afternoon, a woman listed under the Facebook page name "Ams Lucas," who appeared to be the same woman listed under pages named for both Amanda Simpson and Amanda Lee Painter and who is believed to be the sole survivor of the onslaught, posted a distraught Facebook Live video from a hospital bed describing her injuries and her version of events leading up to the tragedy. It ends with her displaying a photo of her three children.
"I've re-lived it over and over, and every time I close my eyes, I see my babies," she said, noting early in the video that she was under sedation. "I see them dead."
In the video, she expressed anger toward a judge who handled her divorce case, saying that her ex-husband had tried to commit suicide and that her warnings to the judge that she considered him mentally unstable went unheeded.
Tearful throughout the video, she said she hoped her children "knew that I loved them."
"You never think you'll lose a child, and I always watch the news," she said. "And I just stopped watching it because too many children get killed. I just don't know what to do."
At the home, investigators held up white sheets to briefly block the view of the front door Wednesday afternoon while bodies were removed from the home and placed into waiting vehicles.
Two dogs were removed from the home and placed in a neighbor's care, Hinojosa said.
Natalie Carr said she left for work Wednesday morning before the incident and only heard later from another neighbor about the shooting.
"It's too close to home," said Carr, who lives across the street and has four kids. "It's very heart-wrenching."
#NEW : @CBSDFW has learned the twin sister of the sole survivor in the Ponder mass shooting & suicide is flying into town tomorrow to be by her sister's side. Funeral arrangements for the children are pending. #RIP pic.twitter.com/pdF0Yg3K6I— Tami Carr (@CarrTamicbs11) May 17, 2018
She did not know the people who lived in the house but thinks they had been living there six to eight months. In that period, she said, she saw a woman and possibly some men there only a few times.
Mary Jean Dennis told the Denton Record-Chronicle that she saw a man and three children between 3 and 6 years old walk toward the house about eight minutes before police were called.
"I walked past all three of the kids, and they said 'Good morning' and just looked at me," Dennis said. "Had I known a man was going to go in there and do that I would have stopped. And I'm thinking, 'Why did I not know? Why didn't I sense that something was going to happen?'"