The Texas mother who gunned down her two daughters on a street near Houston on Friday was severely mentally ill and pulled the trigger because she wanted her husband "to suffer," authorities said Wednesday.
Christy Sheats, and her daughters Madison and Taylor Sheats.
Christy Sheats, 42, convened a family meeting at her home in Katy Friday afternoon with her 45-year-old husband, Jason, and daughters Taylor, 22, and Madison, 17.
Her husband told police he thought his wife called the meeting "to discuss the decision to file for a divorce," the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.
Instead, she opened fire on her daughters using a .38-caliber handgun.
"[Jason] felt Christy wanted him to suffer," Sheriff Troy Nehls told reporters at a press conference on Wednesday. "Mr. Sheats stated Christy knew how much he loved Taylor and Madison and how much they loved him.
"Mr. Sheats will have to live the rest of his life with this horrible memory," Nehls said.
As the family members ran from the house, Madison died on the sidewalk outside. Jason was able to run to the end of a cul-de-sac, while Christy went inside for more bullets and then pursued Taylor, shooting her again.
Christy was subsequently shot dead by a police officer when she refused to drop her weapon, authorities said.
Taylor was flown to a hospital, but could not be saved.
After interviews with Jason Sheats, authorities on Wednesday said they learned that in addition to having depression and anxiety, Christy had attempted suicide three times.
Jason Sheats told authorities his wife had been treated at three different private mental health facilities in the past four years and was taking medication to treat her depression.
In the past four years, police were called to the Sheats home 14 times, three of which were to respond to suicide attempts by Christy, Sheriff Nehls said.
According to the Houston Chronicle, Nehls told reporters that Christy Sheats' depression had worsened since the 2012 death of her grandfather.
Her Facebook page was full of emotional posts about her late grandfather, whom she described as her "hero and best friend" and "the person [she] loved and cherished most in this world."
She also posted multiple status updates on Facebook in support of gun rights.
"It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away,” she wrote in March.
Authorities said Wednesday that Christy inherited the handgun she used to kill her daughters from her grandfather.
She had applied for a license to carry her handgun in public, but was denied.
Nehls said his investigators were still determining why her permit request was rejected.
Three 911 calls released Tuesday provided a terrifying glimpse of the Sheats daughters' final moments.
In the calls, Jason Sheats can be heard pleading with his wife "not to shoot my family."
Detective Scott Heinemeyer told media that although he survived, Jason should be regarded as a victim of the crime.
"We look at him as a victim in all this," Heinemeyer said. "I think it's just important that your thoughts and prayers go out with Mr. Sheats.
"He did state that she accomplished what she set out to do, and that is to make him suffer."
David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.
Contact David Mack at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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