It’s beginning to seem like another day…another American massacre as this Qruel Summer continues. Our hearts here at VitaminQ New Orleans go out to our Houston neighbors as they awoke to the following tragic news.
From The Houston Chronicle:
The man accused in the murderous rampage that left five children and three adults dead inside a northwest Harris County home has a history of domestic violence that dates back to at least 2000.
David Ray Conley III, 49, was charged Sunday with multiple counts of capital murder.
He has previously threatened and attacked Victoria Jackson, who listed her address in those court papers as the house in the 2100 block of Falling Oaks where the bodies were discovered.
Authorities have not yet revealed the names of the dead, including whether any of them are Jackson or her seven children.
He was last arrested in July for allegedly smashing Jackson’s head into a refrigerator multiple times, after she fought to get a belt from him that he said he was going to use to discipline one of her children for staying out late.
In another case, a Harris County judge in 2013 issued an emergency protective order to keep Conley away from Jackson who was later sentenced to nine months in jail.
That was the same year that Jackson, who has had the last names of Conley and Yanske, described David Conley on her Facebook page as, “the best father in the whole world, my baby, my best friend, my forever.”
She further praised Conley, saying, “you have always put me and our kids ahead of your self and always take care of home.”
She often writes about the difficulties and joys of raising so many children.
In November 2013, she called them “amazing and hardheaded.” But months before she said she was exhausted. “I think I’m going crazy!” she wrote, noting that four of her sons have special needs, including autism, a “brain disorder,” attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and “ODD,” which may refer to oppositional defiant disorder.
In June of that year, she said she was stressed, asking her friends, “At what age do siblings stop fighting and arguing? I NEED A VACATION!!”
In the wake of the deaths, Texas Child Protective Services is reviewing its handling of the family.
“A preliminary review has found previous CPS involvement, and an internal review by our Office of Child Safety is already under way to evaluate any prior contacts with the family to ensure they were handled appropriately, ” said Patrick Crimmins, a spokesman for the agency.
Conley’s rage toward Jackson is first documented in Harris County in December 2000, when she accused him of assault and he lashed out.
He attacked her, saying he was not going to back prison over her accusations, according to court documents.
He cut her throat and punched her, as well as wrapped an electrical cord around a baby’s neck, according to the court papers, which note, “(Conley) said that he was going to kill her, their baby and himself.”
In the latest incident, Harris County deputies conducted a welfare check at about 9 p.m. Saturday at the home in the 2100 block of Falling Oaks, near Veterans Memorial and Fallbrook.
Deputy Thomas Gilliland, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said deputies tried repeatedly to get someone to answer the door.
Given Conley’s family violence history, members of the High Risk Operation Unit were called as deputies surrounded the house.
After they peeked through a window and spotted a child’s body, three officers and a sergeant tried to go inside. Conley allegedly shot at them.
Harris County court filings note that Conley has been arrested several times for police, including such charges as crack possession, assault, retaliation, evading police, robbery, trespassing and theft.
Alan Cartagena, 19, said he was at a barbecue at his girlfriend’s nearby house as deputies swarmed the scene Saturday. His girlfriend’s cousin, who was a friend of one of the boys at the home, sent the boy a text message, asking if everything was OK. There was no reply, Cartagena said. He said deputies burst into their house and screamed at them to “stay inside!” He said they spent hours inside.
Cartagena said the police refused to say what happened. “Are the kids OK?” they begged an officer. He kept walking, but shook his head sadly, Cartagena said. “That’s when we knew,” he said. “We were devastated.”
Enis Elshani, who has lived in the neighborhood since 2001, said that two of the boys were over for their son’s recent birthday party.
“You could see that they had problems,” he said. “They never wanted to go home. They would feel much safer and much better here at my house than at their house.”
His wife, Vesa Elshani, had tears in her eyes when she learned the children were dead.
“It’s so hard. It’s hard to believe,” she said.
A teacher from Sammons Elementary, where the children attended, stopped by the home Sunday morning. She didn’t give her name, but said all the teachers at the school are saddened by the news.
“Everybody’s shocked and everybody’s hurt,” she said with tears in her eyes.
“They’re good kids, very good kids. And so helpful. Very helpful. They’re always sweet kid,” she said. “I don’t have anything negative to say about that family.”
Dalila Mercado, who has lived in the neighborhood for six years, said Child Protective Services has been previously called to the house, and at least once seized custody of children living there. Mercado and other neighbors said the children could often be seen running around outside without supervision, the toddlers without diapers.
“They were always having problems,” said Mercado, who heard gunshots when she got home around 10 p.m. Saturday.
The incident rekindled memories of the fatal shooting in July 2014 of six members of a Spring family, including four children and two adults, after an apparent domestic dispute.
“It brings to mind a little over a year ago of the Stay family, where we went through this, an absolute tragedy, and again it’s played out for Harris County citizens to endure this again,” Gilliland said.
He said counselors from the sheriff’s office were coming out to talk to deputies and help them decompress.
“It’s hard job being a patrolman in this town,” Gilliland said. “Our deputies do yeoman’s job everyday. But when they are forced to see some of the most horrific things along this nature, especially of children, and someone so callous to do something like this to children.”
It’s always the innocent that suffer most. Always the innocent. #DontSufferInSilence
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