NORTH RICHLAND HILLS -- Spider-Man hangs on the side of the house, a bag on his back with a 'Happy Holidays' tag on it. An apparent Superhero Santa marking that, yes, this is a house with kids.
That was remarkable before Saturday. A neighbor two doors down even said she walked her grandkids over there a few days ago to look at the Christmas lights in the yard and on the gutter.
Saturday, though, the attention brought to the house was signified by the neighborhood nightmare roped just below Spider-Man – the yellow tape marking off the North Richland Hills property as a crime scene.
"It's an apparent murder-suicide," NRHPD Media Relations Coordinator Carissa Ketakaru said, just outside the home at the corner of College Circle South and Susan Lee Lane. "We have two small children under the age of 10 deceased, and then the father is also deceased."
The uninjured mother made the 9-1-1 call. She had to inform the Police that her five-year-old girl, nine-year-old boy, and their father were all shot. Paramedics came to the scene hoping to resuscitate, but all three were declared dead at the scene.
The family was new to this North Richland Hills neighborhood. In fact, the house sat empty for many months before they moved in. Police said there hadn't been any previous calls to the home since they lived there, and most of their neighbors never truly got to meet them. They did notice the young family, though.
"They were playing music, and kicking soccer, and their basketball goal," next door neighbor Karen Banner said, recalling any interaction she'd had with them. "They're the only ones that had little kids. All the kids around here are grown and gone."
Those Christmas lights on the house and trees and in the yard, and the wreath on the door were all signs of a happy holiday home, and all of them were an apparent lie.
"It's so so sad, and we see this around the holidays, and it's just crushing to us," Katekaru said, speaking for NRHPD. "It really hits us. It really does."
Details, including names, are still scarce, but a family is ruined, lives were lost, and a mother is left to pick up the pieces.