Eight people — including five children and three adults — were found slain inside a Houston-area home and a man who exchanged gunfire with police has been charged with three counts of capital murder, according to Texas authorities and court records.
Court records show that one capital murder count against David Conley covers multiple deaths. Another capital murder count is for a person under six years of age. He was being held Sunday in the Harris County Jail. Bond had not yet been set for him. An attorney is not yet listed for him.
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that the eight people were found slain after a welfare check was conducted at the home. The suspect was taken into custody after members of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office High Risk Operations Unit and Hostage Negotiation Team negotiated his surrender.
Deputies were called to the home about 9 p.m. Saturday to perform the welfare check, Harris County Sheriff spokesman Thomas Gilliland told KHOU-TV. Gilliland said deputies later received information indicating that a man inside the home was wanted on a warrant for aggravated assault on a family member.
Gilliland said while waiting for a High Risk Operations Unit to arrive, deputies spotted the body of a juvenile through a window. Four deputies forced their way into the home, prompting the suspect inside to begin shooting. Deputies pulled back and waited for the operations unit to arrive. The man surrendered about an hour later.
The relationship between the suspect and victims wasn’t immediately known. No further details were released. Officials say more information will be given at a news conference set for 3 p.m.
The area around the home was still cordoned off Sunday morning, with sheriff’s deputies coming in and out of the house and the medical examiner’s office having arrived at the scene. By late Sunday morning, authorities had begun removing bodies from the home.
Alan Cartagena, 19, said he was attending a barbecue at a home a couple houses away. About 11 p.m., he said, deputies started going around the neighborhood knocking on doors.
“Cops were walking around with their handguns out, telling people to remain in their houses. They were also telling them to evacuate. It was extremely scary,” he said.
Cartagena said he heard one gunshot but wasn’t sure if there were more.
Neighbor Dalila Mercado says when she arrived home Saturday night officers had already blocked off the area. She said she was sitting in her driveway when she heard gunshots coming from the house and officials then told her and her family to go inside their home.
Mercado said she could still see from her bedroom window and watched as a man was escorted out of the house after midnight. She said officials then had him next to her fence, taking fingerprints and photographs.
“It was shocking. I haven’t slept all night,” she said.
Mercado says she didn’t know the residents of the house well, but would occasionally say hello to a woman and see children waiting to catch the school bus. She said she didn’t recognize the man taken out of the house.