An estranged uncle shot dead his brother and seriously wounded his niece before turning the gun on himself after they came to visit him for the first time in ten years following a family rift.
Elijah Jared Stone, 47, of Austin, opened fire as soon as John Michael Garcia, 45, and his daughter Hailey Michelle Reyes, 23, both of San Antonio, arrived at the Cedar Park home in Texas on Saturday evening.
Garcia was killed in the hail of bullets and Reyes was rushed to hospital on life support. Stone then shot himself and died at the scene.
Elijah Jared Stone, 47, (left) of Austin, opened fire on John Michael Garcia, 45, and his daughter Hailey Michelle Reyes, 23, (pictured together right), before turning the gun on himself
Police say the family had reunited for the first time in a decade to visit another brother, Paul Garcia.
The family, aside from Stone, had taken a paddleboarding trip together and were returning to Paul Garcia’s home in two separate cars. John Michael and his daughter had just pulled up when the shooting began.
‘The victims had just gotten out of their car when the suspect approached and started shooting outside the house,’ said Alicia Inns, a Cedar Park Police spokeswoman, told Fox 7.
The shooting took place outside the home of Stone and Garcia’s brother, Paul Garcia, in Cedar Park home in Texas on Saturday evening
Police remained on the scene on Saturday after the murder suicide
Paul Garcia and Reyes’ husband Lee had been following behind in another car and arrived moments later.
Police are still investigating what triggered the murder-suicide.
‘From what we can gather, we believe it was premeditated or planned, so that’s what we’re still working on, determining,’ said Detective Kristy Whitley.
Whitley said that Stone changed his name after falling out with his family 10 years ago.
‘It doesn’t need to come to the point of violence like it did on Saturday.
‘I think the family was unaware of maybe the extent due to the time of separation, or length of separation, a lot can change in a period of 10 years,’ said Detective Whitley.
The family’s pastor, Sean Metcalf of Community Bible Church in San Antonio, described John Michael Garcia as a doting husband and father, KXAN reports.
‘Michael was a wonderful father to his girls, always involved in everything they were doing, whether it was in wrestling or working out or volunteering at the church, he was actively involved in the lives of his daughters, even as of Saturday, out paddle boarding with his family.’
Garcia was killed in the hail of bullets and Reyes was rushed to hospital on life support (pictured are the father and daughter together)
The family, aside from Stone, had taken a paddleboarding trip together and were returning to Paul Garcia’s home when the shooting began. John Micheal Garcia is pictured with his wife Lisa
Reyes, who has undergone several surgeries and remains in hospital, is studying for her graduate degree in school psychology at Texas State University
‘She loves her husband and her dogs and the Spurs and is really funny and energetic,’ classmate Alana Riddle said (Reyes pictured with husband Lee)
Reyes is studying for her graduate degree in school psychology at Texas State University.
‘She loves her husband and her dogs and the Spurs and is really funny and energetic,’ classmate Alana Riddle told My Statesman. ‘Her and her dad were extremely close. I met her dad a couple of times, and he was just like her: really energetic, really active and athletic.’
‘Hailey, we all love you so much. You’re so strong. You got this girl.’
Metcalf added that Reyes, who also volunteered with the children’s ministry, had dedicated her life to helping children.
‘She is full of energy,’ Metcalf said of Reyes. ‘She’s a feisty one, but that just comes from her zest for life.’
Reyes remains in hospital where she has undergone several surgeries, with her mom, husband and sister at her side.
Friends of the family have set up a GoFundMe page which has raised more than $12,000 to to help with Garcia’s funeral and Reyes’ hospital costs.