A South Carolina man reportedly killed his former partner and her two daughters in a fit of rage before turning the gun on himself and taking his own life.
Gabriel Jordan, 37, is alleged to have attacked his former girlfriend, 37-year-old Shanta Singleton, outside of her St. Matthews home on Sunday night, WACH reports. Singleton and her daughters were returning home from a trip to Myrtle Beach when they realized that someone — who later turned out to be Jordan — was following them; once they got to the house, Jordan and Singleton got into an argument, and things turned violent, authorities said.
Jordan went into the house and retrieved a gun, and then came back out and began choking Singleton before shooting her, WACH reports. When Singleton’s 12-year-old daughter Trevay Stroman tried to help her mother by jumping onto Jordan’s back, he shot her, too; Singleton’s 15-year-old daughter Essence Stroman then fled into the home, but Jordan followed her inside and shot her as well, according to the outlet. Authorities believe that he then used the gun to take his own life.
Deputies were called to the residence at around 7 p.m., at which point they found four individuals dead of gunshot wounds in an “apparent domestic argument turned violent,” the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release. There were two other children present at the time of the shooting, according to authorities; one was shot in the arm, but the other was unharmed.
“Any incident involving the loss of life is tragic, but in this case the senseless violence is unimaginable,” Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers said. “This entire family and the community are grieving over this senseless act.”
“No one should be capable of this level of violence,” he added.
Jordan was the father of one of Singleton’s children, but it's unclear who, WACH reports, citing authorities.
The two surviving daughters — 18-year-old Shantasia Stroman, who was shot in the arm, and a 13-year-old whose name has not been disclosed — went to their neighbors for help when the shooting began, The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg reports.
One neighbor told the paper that Singleton and Jordan were in an on-and-off relationship for years; one of the children told investigators that the family had gone to the beach with Singleton and a new boyfriend, and when Jordan approached them after their arrival home, she told him that she wanted to break up with him, at which point he grew angry, according to The Times and Democrat.
The former couple were arguing outside near a shed; Singleton told her daughters to go back inside after Jordan came out of the house with a gun, but when the girls saw Jordan choking their mother, they went back outside to try and help her, the paper reports. Jordan then shot Singleton, prompting 12-year-old Trevay to jump onto his back; he then shot her before shooting 18-year-old Shantasia in the arm.
Authorities and the Calhoun County Coroner’s Office reportedly believe that the deaths qualify as a murder-suicide, but the autopsies are pending.
Attorney Chasity Avinger, who has been appointed by the court as the guardian ad litem for one of the children, mourned the lives lost in a statement obtained by the paper.
“Shanta was a very hardworking and dedicated mother,” she said. “Her children were [a] reflection of that love and devotion to their well-being and their losses will be felt by many.”
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