Police say gunman kills 3, then shoots himself in San Antonio home

By Paul J. Weber, AP
Thursday, July 29, 2010

Police: Gunman kills 3 then himself in San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO — A 69-year-old man pulled two handguns from a briefcase and killed his stepfather, another man and a mother as the woman’s children played nearby, in an upscale gated community in San Antonio, authorities said Thursday.

The gunman then shot himself, San Antonio police Sgt. Chris Benavides said. But apparently not before the children — startled by the gunfire — ran back into the house and escaped through the front door. They fled to neighbors for help.

“One of the juveniles ran over to the window and saw him holding the weapon,” Benavides said.

The shooter was identified as Joseph Ray McDonald the stepson of the homeowner, Arthur DeBaun. Debaun, 88, was found dead alongside Heather Monroe, 40, and 41-year-old Jeffery Monroe. The relationships between the Monroes and McDonald or the Monroes and DeBaun was not immediately clear.

Police were still trying to determine a motive Thursday.

Benavides said McDonald may have coaxed the children to play outside before opening fire on the adults inside.

The children — ages 14, 10, and 8 — were placed with family members Thursday.

The shooting happened late Wednesday in the city’s affluent north side, behind the gated entry of a small neighborhood with just four short streets. An American flag hoisted outside the one-story brick house, which is valued at more than $300,000, according to Bexar County tax records.

Dwight Dunlap, an attorney who said he represented some of the family, declined comment while standing outside the home.

Authorities said the shooting began just after 8 p.m. while the children played outside. McDonald entered the house with a briefcase, removed two handguns from it and opened fire, Benavides said.

Some of the children may have seen their mother and the others laying dead while fleeing the house, Benavides said.

There was no sign of forced entry.

Eugene Goldman, who lives a few houses down, said he saw removal vans come and go from DeBaun’s house in the days leading up to the shooting. He thought that the woman might have been moving in.

Goldman said he walked outside to exercise shortly after 8 p.m. Wednesday when a neighbor asked if he had heard gunfire. A rush of police cars and ambulances packed the cul-de-sac soon after the shooting was reported, and the kids had ran to safety.

“This is why we live in a gated community,” Goldman said.

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