In a devastating incident, a mother is believed to have fatally shot her three children before turning the gun on herself in their North Carolina home on Tuesday. According to authorities, the tragic event unfolded during a Facetime call, leaving the person on the other end of the line as a horrified witness.
The deceased victims have been identified as sisters Sakendra Syann Steele, aged 9, and Sakenya Syretha Steele, aged 12, and their brother Sakenlo Shawn Steele Jr., aged 14. The kids’ 40-year-old mother, Ethal Syretha Steele, was also found dead. The family resided at 3140 Brookhill Drive, located in the typically peaceful residential neighborhood of Ashton Grove.
Police were alerted to the incident at 11:54 a.m. on Tuesday and promptly arrived at the scene. They were met with a locked house and had to force entry. Upon gaining access, they discovered the lifeless bodies of the three children and their mother. Over a dozen law enforcement vehicles responded to the situation, and officers cordoned off the area with yellow tape. An ambulance arrived but left the scene without sirens around 12:30 p.m.
Investigators believe that the mother first shot her youngest daughter, followed by the older girl, who had attempted to intervene. The boy was the final child to be shot. The exact locations of the bodies within the house have not been disclosed.
While authorities have not officially confirmed that the incident was a murder-suicide, they stated that no suspects were being pursued and assured the community that there was no ongoing safety threat.
A neighbor, who chose to remain anonymous, shared that her children occasionally played with the Steele siblings in the front yard of the family’s home. She described the family as “reclusive” and mentioned that she had not had much interaction with them.
Another resident, who lives a few doors down from the Steele home, expressed shock and disbelief at the tragic event. She stated that she had not heard any unusual noises on the fateful morning and found the sudden influx of police vehicles in the neighborhood to be deeply alarming.
As the community struggles to come to terms with this heartrending tragedy, the police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding the incident.