GASTON, NC – Tragedy struck a family in Gaston County as an 11-year-old girl miraculously survived a suspected murder-suicide involving her father and twin brother. The incident initially began with a house fire, leaving many unanswered questions about the horrific events that unfolded within the home.
The surviving child, 11-year-old Piper Blakney, is expected to return home from the Burn Center soon. Piper’s rescue from the burning house was made possible by members of the SWAT Team who bravely intervened. In the wake of this heartbreaking incident, family members have launched a GoFundMe campaign to support Piper.
Domestic violence advocate Ron Kimble shed light on the grim reality that children often endure violence in such cases. “Sometimes they are just used as pawns or used as tools or used as a mechanism to gain control back,” Kimble stated, highlighting the distressing impact on young victims.
Neighbors, too, are deeply affected by the tragedy. Robert Haney, a neighbor, expressed his concern for Piper’s well-being, acknowledging the immense challenges she will face on her path to recovery.
The incident unfolded early Saturday morning when Piper’s father, Russell Blakney, allegedly shot her twin brother at their home on Brentwood Lane, near Stanley. Following the tragic shooting, Russell Blakney set the house ablaze before taking his own life. Piper’s grandfather disclosed that a SWAT Team had to break a bedroom window to rescue her from the dire situation. Fortunately, Piper survived but is recovering from smoke inhalation.
The community remembers the twins as happy children, and the sudden loss has left neighbors grappling with the painful memories of happier times. Firefighters returned to the home to address remaining hot spots in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Further investigation revealed an order of protection filed by Russell Blakney’s wife just a day before the incident. In the document, she detailed a harrowing account of domestic violence, including threats to her life with a loaded gun. The order of protection specified that Russell Blakney should have no contact with his children. Tragically, the protective order, which was set to remain in effect until the coming Friday, couldn’t prevent the horrifying events that unfolded.