DALLAS — A Texas woman who fatally shot her two daughters did not target her estranged husband because she “wanted him to suffer” the memory of their deaths, a sheriff said Wednesday.
Christy Sheats, 42, “had ample time” on Friday to shoot Jason Sheats after she called a family meeting at their home west of Houston, Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said during a news conference. Jason Sheats, 45, thought his wife was going to discuss a possible divorce to the couple’s daughters, Nehls said, but she instead shot Madison Sheats, 17, and Taylor Sheats, 22.
The children and Jason Sheats ran outside, but Christy Sheats followed them out and shot her eldest daughter again. A responding officer later shot and killed her when she refused orders to drop her gun. Jason Sheats was not injured.
“She accomplished what she set out to do, and that is to make him suffer,” Nehls said, adding that Jason Sheats told investigators Tuesday about the sequence of events, details about the couple’s crumbling marriage and Christy Sheats’ bouts of depression.
The tension among family members had grown recently when Taylor Sheats had argued with her mother about her boyfriend, whom she intended to marry, Nehls said. Christy Sheats wanted to ground her daughter and prevent her from seeing her boyfriend, while her husband had argued it was inappropriate to ground someone of Taylor’s age.
The sheriff’s office released 911 calls this week that captured the panic in the neighborhood on Friday. In the first call, a woman is heard crying, “Please! Forgive me! Please! Don’t shoot!” After a scream, she cries, “Please! I’m sorry!” and “Please! Don’t point that gun at her!” Another woman is heard saying, “I promise you, whatever you want,” before the call is disconnected.
In a second call, a woman is heard saying, weakly, “She shot ’em.” A neighbor during a third call describes the daughters lying in the street in front of their house. The neighbor describes Christy Sheats kneeling over her eldest daughter and shooting her.
Nehls said that Christy Sheats’ life appeared to unravel in 2012 following the death of her grandfather, who she saw as a mentor. Her mother died a few months later. Her grandfather gave her the .38-caliber handgun used to kill her daughters. Sheats had applied for a license to carry the gun but was denied, the sheriff said, adding that authorities are investigating why she was denied.
She was admitted on three separate occasions to a private mental health facility and had been suicidal and suffered from depression. Sheats also had been unemployed since 2012 and her husband told investigators that at times she drank heavily.
The couple had been married for more than 20 years and was from Alabama.