Utahns who know suspect in Texas mass shooting shocked by his actions, vigil held for victims

Posted at 9:51 PM, Jul 10, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-11 10:35:14-04

HOUSTON -- He was looking for his ex-wife and ended up killing six members of his extended family, according to police.

Ronald Lee Haskell, 34, is accused of the deadly shooting rampage in a suburban Houston, Texas neighborhood. Haskell has ties to Utah, having been a recent Logan resident.

"He was the perfect dad, the perfect husband on the outside," says Nancy Kippen, a close family friend.

To the outside world, she says there didn't seem to be any problems.

But, Kippen added: "Once things started going south she expressed her fear, she was very afraid. She knew what he was capable of, it's why she left."

Kippen said Haskell's ex-wife, Melannie, was worried about threats Haskell had made. He was arrested for domestic violence charges in 2008, and there were several reports of possible protective order violations in 2013.

But, despite this history with the Logan City Police Department and Cache County Sheriff's Office, some who knew Haskell said they didn't see this coming.

Lt. Doyle Peck with the Cache County Sheriff's Office said, "I don't believe anyone at least in law enforcement could have predicted this was going to happen."

Neighbor Buddy Young agrees.

"I still am having a hard time seeing him act like he did or do the things he did," he said.

According to Texas authorities, Haskell forced his way into this sister-in-law's home, demanded information about where his ex-wife was, and when those family members refused to tell him, he tied them up and shot them in the back of the head.

"I think there's a lot of people around here who are saying that to themselves all the time, you know, 'What if it had been here, what if it had been me?' But we can't live like that," Kippen said.

Texas authorities believe Haskell may have killed more family members had the 15-year-old girl in the home not called police to alert them of where she thought he was headed next. That 15 year old was also shot, played dead and called 911 after Haskell was gone.