‘An Awful Thing’: Veteran Kills 3 Children And Soldier Before Killing Self, Police Say

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A former U.S. soldier murdered his three children as well as another soldier before turning the gun on himself, authorities in South Carolina said.

Former soldier Charles Slacks Jr. reportedly arrived at his ex-wife’s residence at approximately 10 p.m. March 21, letting himself in with a key he still had in his possession, Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark III announced in a press conference.

At that point, Slacks reportedly made his way to the backyard and shot an active duty Army soldier who was a co-worker of his ex-wife, Aletha Holliday, WISTV reported. As Holliday attempted to locate a phone to call 911, Slacks made his way into residence and reportedly shot 5-year-old Aayden Holliday-Slacks and his 6-year-old brother Aason Holliday-Slacks, as well as their half-sister, 11-year-old Ava Holliday while they were asleep in bed before turning the gun on himself, according to The Associated Press (AP). (RELATED: REPORT: Five Dead In Murder-Suicide, Including 3 Children)

“Anybody who has children — anybody who has empathy toward a child dying so violently could understand how that mother is feeling,” Roark stated.

Slacks, who was retired from the military service, had been assigned to U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base as a civilian. The soldier who was killed, whose identity has not yet been released, was also assigned to the base, according to the Associated Press.

“It was a long night. This was just an awful thing,” the coroner stated, according to the outlet.