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Murder charges in deaths of six Texas family members

A family who identified themselves as friends of the victims, pauses on the porch after placing flowers and a framed photograph at the door of the home where a gunman killed six people Wednesday in Spring, Texas 10 July 2014 Image copyright AP
Image caption A family, who identified themselves as friends of the victims, pauses on the porch after placing flowers

A man accused of shooting dead a family of six, including four children, near Houston has been charged with multiple counts of murder.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 33, gave himself up to police late Wednesday following a chase and a three-hour stand-off.

A 15-year-old is also in a critical condition after being shot in the head, but was able to direct police to him.

Police earlier identified Mr Haskell as the father of the children, but have corrected that report.

Harris County Constable Ron Hickman said the adults killed were the children's parents and Mr Haskell was estranged from a woman related to the couple.

"I have not personally in 40 years seen a tragedy in one family that is this horrific," he said.

Calling while shot

Police had been called to a house about 18:00 (23:00 GMT) and found three children and two adults dead, a Harris County Sheriff's Office statement said.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The suspect was cornered in his car after a chase
Image copyright AP
Image caption After two hours of talking, the suspect surrendered to police
Image copyright AP
Image caption Police discovered the bodies of the children and two adults at the house in Spring, Texas.

A fourth child died in hospital. Those killed were two boys ages four and 14, two girls seven and nine and their parents. They have not yet been identified.

Mr Hickman said Mr Haskell had allegedly persuaded the children he was a FedEx parcel delivery man to gain access to their home in Spring, Texas. He was wearing a shirt with the company's logo.

He then "gathered up the children that were here and awaited the arrival of the parents", Mr Hickman told reporters.

In a statement, the parcel firm said Mr Haskell "formerly provided service" for the company, but had not done so since January.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Flowers and candles were left on the porch of the home

The injured 15-year-old daughter of the couple then called police, telling them the gunman was en route to shoot other members of their family.

She was in a critical condition in hospital on Thursday.

Police earlier described the shooting suspect as a man in his 30s with a beard who was "cool as a cucumber".

When approached by officers he was "just sitting in his car looking out at us," said Sgt Thomas Gilliland.

There followed "hours of constant talking with a man armed with a pistol to his head and who had just killed six people", he added.

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