An Oklahoma woman reportedly fatally shot her three children and herself in a triple murder-suicide Thursday afternoon, according to local authorities.
Verdigris Police Department (VPD) officers responding to “fireworks erupting outside a home” in Verdigris arrived to find “an armed and barricaded woman inside the residence,” according to a Friday statement by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI).
The officers began negotiating with the woman, Brandy McCaslin, 39, and a three-hour standoff ensued, per the statement. The officers entered the home as they heard no response from within, and “found McCaslin, along with her three children, dead inside. The children included a ten-month-old, as well as a six and eleven-year-old. It was determined that McCaslin shot all three kids and then turned the weapon on herself.” (RELATED: Man Allegedly Shoots Girlfriend, 3 Children Before Killing Himself)
The children were identified as nine-months-old Billy, Bryce, 6, and Noe, 11, according to KJRH 2 News Oklahoma.
A mother killed her three children, including a 10-month-old, and then shot herself in an apparent triple murder-suicide, authorities say. https://t.co/4ej0wkClro
— ABC News (@ABC) July 22, 2023
VPD further stated there was a hostage situation involved, as McCaslin had reportedly taken a visiting woman’s phone and held her at gunpoint before the murder-suicide, according to News 9 – Oklahoma City. The woman had reportedly gone to McCaslin’s home with one of McCaslin’s children and two of her own children. The woman and her own two children were then left trapped in the garage of the home, from where she fired off a Roman candle, which attracted the attention of the police.
Rev. Josh Kerr, the pastor of a church in which McCaslin grew up, was reportedly familiar with McCaslin and her alleged mental health struggles. “Lots of tragedy, suicides in the family, drug use, just all of the brokenness that we see in our communities all the time,” he said, according to the News 9 report. He added that while he and many others were shocked, angry and heartbroken, “[t]here also needs to be empathy, sincere grief, and some compassion.”
Chief Jack Shackleford said his officers had responded to child welfare and domestic violence concerns at the house many times before. Two child custody lawsuits involving two fathers of McCaslin’s children were ongoing as of the time of the incident.
A joint investigation by OSBI and VPD is ongoing, according to the OSBI statement.