“What goes through the hearts and minds of a person who would do this sometimes dies with him,” Lt. Patrick Welsh said.
Content Warning: The following content contains descriptions of suicide, mental health issues, gun violence, and murder, which may be distressing to some readers.
A tragedy shocked the High Point community as a man with a history of mental illness shot and murdered his wife, three children, and himself before turning the pistol on himself. The deceased have been named in a press conference from the High Point Police Department as Robert J. Crayton Jr., 45, Athalia A. Crayton, 46, and the couple's three children: 18-year-old Kasin Crayton and two unidentified children, aged 16 and 10, per ABC News.
The tragedy happened on Saturday, January 7, when the High Point Police Department in North Carolina responded to a report about two people "screaming for help" in the 2700 block of Mossy Meadow Drive in High Point. According to authorities, all five victims, i.e. three adults and two kids, were declared dead at the scene of the crime.
Two additional individuals—a relative and a friend—were able to flee the house and pounded on neighbors' doors to ask for assistance. The man and the woman who survived are both in their 20s. “When officers arrived they came into contact with an adult male and female stating they needed help,” authorities said. “Officers had to force entry into the home, and once inside, they located five deceased people.”
Police Capt. Matt Truitt, who was on the scene looking into the incident, revealed that the two people who had screamed for help were later questioned by the detectives. One of the two was a resident and the other was a guest in the house. “They are both safe at this point, and they are unharmed,” Truitt said to Greensboro News & Record.
During a press conference, Lt. Patrick Welsh stated that relatives of the murdered family had informed police that Robert was living with mental health challenges, and was issued an involuntary mental commitment order in January 2022. "He was suffering from some mental illness," Welsh said, per NBC News. The police think the family obtained the mental commitment order, per NYPost. According to the High Point Police Department, officers have been called to the alleged murder-suicide scene five times since 2014, with the most recent call coming on January 3, 2022, but Robert has never been arrested, charged, or offered state mental-health aid.
It's unknown, according to Welsh, how the gun came into the shooter's possession. He also added that no reason has yet been established for the fatal shooting inside the house. “I’ve expressed this to the family as we may never know why,” he said. “What goes through the hearts and minds of a person who would do this sometimes dies with him.”
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | aijohn784