Five die in apparent domestic assault in South Texas nursing home
ROBSTOWN — A 13-year-old boy was among those killed in a string of shootings Friday night that left five people dead, local police said Saturday.
Police believe Richard Starry, 60, shot and killed his father Ernest Starry, 85, and stepmother, Thelma Montalvo, 60, at Retama Manor Nursing Center before turning the gun on himself.
The bodies of the 13-year-old and a 40-year-old man, identified as Montalvo’s son, were found at the home of Ernest Starry and Montalvo, which is near the nursing home. Their names weren’t released.
“Evidence leads us to believe that the two that were killed at that home were the first victims of this shooting,” Robstown police Chief Erasmo Flores said at a news conference Saturday.
Police believe the crimes are related, but authorities would not speculate on a motive for the shootings.
“At this time the evidence points to a murder-suicide,” police Lt. Enrique Paredez said later. “But the investigation is still premature to determine a motive.”
Paredez said Ernest Starry was a resident at the home and that his wife was visiting him when the younger Starry came in.
Officers were first called to the nursing home in the 600 block of East Avenue J, where they found the bodies of Montalvo, Ernest Starry and Richard Starry.
A gun was found nearby.
Authorities later received a call from a family member that sent them to a home on 4200 block of west Texas 44. When they arrived, they discovered the teen and the 40-year-old man dead inside.
Flores said his department is preparing a report on the shooting that will be given to Nueces County District Attorney Mark Gonzalez in the coming days.
Scores of law enforcement agencies converged on both locations, causing concern for many in this close-knit agriculture town of 11,000 residents just minutes from Corpus Christi.
Late Friday, the nursing home was temporarily locked down. Family and friends waiting in a nearby parking lot to hear the status of their loved ones were asked to go to Seale Junior High while to wait for the lockdown to be lifted.
“You never think it’s going to happen to your family,” said Doris Salazar, whose mother stays at the nursing home. “You think they’re safe.”
The Texas Rangers are expected to assist in the investigation, city officials said in a news release.
State Rep. Abel Herrero, D-Robstown, said city officials, with the assistance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s office, will have the Texas Department of Public Safety provide grief counselors at the site for those who need it.
“Everyone in the community and surrounding area is heartbroken,” Mayor Amanda Barrera said at the Saturday news conference. “This is going to be something that is going to take a long time for our community to heal from.”
New York Times staff writer Julia Jacobs and Caller-Times staff writer Mark Young contributed to this report.