Saturday, November 29, 2008

Man kills wife, himself in house full of relatives

Hell of a way to start the holildays.

A man terrorized a house full of relatives early today before killing his estranged wife and shooting himself in the head, authorities said. The man, who died at the scene, was simultaneously shot by a Harris County Sheriff's deputy, police said.

As many as 20 people, including children, were hiding in closets and bedrooms in the home in the 7000 block of Pouter as they took cover, said Lt. John Legg, of the Sheriff's Office.

The man apparently shot his wife as deputies arrived shortly before 5 a.m., Legg said.

Family members identified the couple as Charles Smith and Myrtle Smith. The two had been married 39 years but separated in September.

Myrtle Smith, 59, moved into her 41-year-old daughter's home on Pouter a month ago, relatives said.

"They figured he wouldn't find them if they moved over here," said Willy Terry, Myrtle Smith's brother.

Relatives said they met at Myrtle Smith's house to celebrate her daughter's 41st birthday. Charles Smith, who was 60 or 61, they said, came to the door with a gun.

When deputies arrived, Legg said, the man was pressing a gun to his head and told deputies he wasn't coming out of the house. As officers spoke to him through a door, he momentarily placed the gun down, then picked it up with the barrel aimed toward his head and a deputy, Legg said.

After a brief verbal exchange, he fired as he was simultaneously hit by a blast from a deputy's shotgun, Legg said.

"At that time, the suspect's firearm and the deputy's firearm go off. The deputy was concerned he was going to be shot," Legg said. "It does appear at this time that the suspect took his own life."

More information is expected as the investigation continues.

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