After Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls sat down with Jason Sheats — whose wife, Christy Sheats, killed their two daughters before a police officer fatally shot her — Nehls made public what Jason believed may have led to the tragic event.
“We asked Mr. Sheats for a motive in his own words, and why would Christy kill their two daughters,” Nehls said at a news conference. “He stated that he felt Christy wanted him to suffer. During this incident, Christy had ample time and opportunity to shoot and kill Mr. Sheats in the home, but she chose not to. Mr. Sheats stated Christy knew how much he loved Taylor and Madison, and how much they loved him.”
On Friday around 5 p.m., on Jason's 45th birthday, Christy Sheats called a “family meeting” in the living room of their Katy suburban home — but before any discussions began, pulled out a gun. She shot her daughters — 17-year-old Madison Sheats and 22-year-old Taylor Sheats — and then, as they fled out the front door, fatally shot Madison. Christy let her husband escape unharmed, police said.
To be sure her daughters were dead, Christy Sheats went back in the house to reload the gun, then returned outside and shot Taylor again when she saw Taylor was still moving. A Fulshear police officer arrived in time to witness Christy's final shot. The officer then shot Christy when she would not put the gun down.
Jason Sheats told Sheriff Nehls that problems in the family and with Christy's mental health date back to 2012. On the day of the shooting, he said, Christy got into an argument with Taylor. Because she was talking back to her mother, Christy said she was grounding Taylor from seeing her fiancé, whom Taylor was supposed to marry on Monday. Jason stepped in, telling Christy he thought it was inappropriate to ground their 22-year-old daughter, Nehls said.
Police have yet to determine the extent to which Christy premeditated the murders, or if this argument triggered the attack, but hours later, Christy called Jason and the girls into the living room for the family meeting. Jason said he, Madison and Taylor were in the computer room, and he had thought perhaps Christy wanted to tell the girls that Mom and Dad were getting a divorce. They had separated multiple times in the recent past, Nehls said, and their marriage had spiraled downward ever since Christy's grandfather, her role model, died in 2012.
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Christy had fallen into a deep depression after his passing, Jason told Nehls. Just two months later, her own mother died. In 2012 alone, police said, Christy attempted suicide three times in seven months. That's when the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office started answering calls for service at their residence — 13 times before the fatal shooting on Friday. Several were for false burglary alarms, but many others were related to Christy's mental health; a trip to the hospital in 2013 and another possible suicide attempt in 2014. She had been on multiple prescription medications for her depression, Nehls said, and she'd had three stays in a mental hospital when the depression became debilitating.
Christy, who was an outspoken Second Amendment advocate on her Facebook page, had tried to get a concealed-handgun license sometime after 2012, but it's unclear if the reason the state denied her application was related to her mental illness, Nehls said. The gun belonged to her grandfather, and was handed down to her after his death. She used that firearm to kill her daughters.
The soon-to-be-married Taylor was a talented artist who even designed hand-crafted wedding presents for other couples. Her sister, Madison, was a rising senior at Seven Lakes High School, and a beloved babysitter and tutor for neighborhood kids.
“I think it's just important that your thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Sheats,” Nehls said. “This is something he's going to have to live with for the rest of his life. And he did state: She accomplished what she set out to do, and that is to make him suffer.”