Man Accused Of Killing Wife And Stepchildren

Friday, October 12th 2007, 9:27 pm
By: News On 6

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) A seven hour police standoff with a man accused of killing his estranged wife and two stepchildren ended Friday when he sped out of a driveway and led Fort Worth police on a brief chase before driving into a lake.

Television footage showed the car partially submerged in a few feet of water, with the man still inside.

Rescuers were called to Lake Arlington, said Fort Worth Police Lt. Dan Draper. There was no immediate word on the man's condition.

A man said he was fishing from a nearby dock when he saw the car speed down a boat ramp into the water.

``We heard the helicopters first, then the sirens,'' said Paul Joseph. ``I turned to my friend and said, 'Wow, I wonder what that is; I wonder if it will come here.' Next thing I know, a car came flying down the road and into the water.''

Earlier Friday, the suspect dropped off his bloody but unharmed 3-year-old daughter at an Arlington church, where someone called police after seeing the child and hearing the man say he had committed a crime at his house, Draper said.

Fort Worth police then went to the one-story brick house and found the bodies of the woman, her 13-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old son, Fort Worth Police Lt. Dan Draper said.

None of their names was released.

The standoff started about 12:30 p.m. after police found the armed man parked in an Arlington driveway near the church. The department's SWAT team joined officers there and surrounded the man, using an armored police vehicle to block him in.

Arlington police talked to the man over a loudspeaker and said he was agitated.

``He is very worked-up right now,'' said Arlington police Lt. Blake Miller. ``We are just trying to work through this with him.''

An elementary school across the street was locked down and 640 students were moved to the cafeteria, said Arlington schools spokeswoman Veronica Sopher. By early evening, most students had been picked up by their parents after leaving though back doors, she said.

Fort Worth police were called to the couple's home at least twice since last month, Draper said.

In late September, the man called and said he was afraid the girls were home alone because no one would answer the door, he said.

A week ago, the woman called police and said her estranged husband was knocking on the door, ringing the doorbell and would not go away. But the man was gone when police arrived, Fort Worth Police Lt. Dan Draper said.

Neighbors in this middle class neighborhood of one-story brick houses and well-kept lawns said the man often played in the yard with his stepchildren, who called him daddy.

``He was the friendliest guy around,'' neighbor Tommy Talbott said. ``He was a happy go lucky guy. Every time I saw him, he had a smile.''