Brother: Couple had argument before mom shot self, 3 kids

9:47 PM, Feb 6, 2013   |    comments
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DENVER - As a little girl lay in the hospital in what police called "extremely critical" condition late Wednesday, her family, friends, and neighbors struggled to comprehend the shocking death of her mother, brother, and sister.

PHOTOS: Fatal shooting in NE Denver

Denver Police are investigating a shooting near East 49th Avenue and Pearl Street where three people died, including two children, Wednesday morning.

According to Denver Police, four people were shot, including one woman and three young children.

9NEWS has learned that 23-year-old Mayra Nunez shot her kids and then herself.

Family members say Nunez's husband Ricky Perez came to their Pearl Street home just before 7am Wednesday to check on his wife and kids.

Brother-in-law Tony Nunez says Perez called to let him know he was spending the night with a friend, after getting into a disagreement with his wife.

I know last night they were having a little argument," Nunez said.

Nunez says he called to check on his sister, Mayra.

"And I told her, you want me to go get you? [She said] no, no we're fine. Just a married couple thing," Nunez said.

He never imagined it would be their last conversation.

9NEWS was with Nunez when he got the phone call from his Perez confirming the worst.

"She shot the kids," Perez said.

According to Nunez, the oldest and youngest children died of gunshot wounds.

Neveah Morales, 6, and Eric Perez, 1, were dead when police arrived. Isabella Perez, 2, was alive, barely.

Denver Police and Fire dispatch recordings from Wednesday morning shortly before 7 a.m. describe the scene inside the house.

"A father is hysterical crying but he says the 2-year-old is still breathing," the dispatcher said. "[It] sounds like it's a mom that shot a couple of her kids and possibly herself. Police are pulling up on scene now."

Later in the recording, a dispatcher references the one surviving child, Isabella.

"One child is crying and breathing. Possibly shot in the head," the dispatcher said.

The medical examiner arrived on scene late Wednesday afternoon.

Denver police opened up Pearl Street around 6 p.m. Wednesday evening after 11 hours of collecting evidence from the crime scene, described by Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier as "horrific."

Seasoned officers, including Police Chief Robert White, were visibly emotional as they relayed information to reporters throughout the day.

Police had not yet confirmed a murder-suicide, but did say they are not looking for a suspect and don't believe the neighborhood is in danger.

Denver Police commander Ron Saunier described the surviving child's condition as "extremely critical."

"It's a horrific scene," Saunier said. "My heart goes out to the family and friends of everybody involved."

Late Wednesday evening, friends and neighbors gathered for a vigil at the Globeville Community Church for the two children killed and a third who's struggling to stay alive.

Neighbors are turning to each other for strength, as the shock wears off and grief sets in.

Fighting back tears, Nunez wonders what would have happened had be stopped by to check on his sister, nieces, and nephews.

"Maybe I should have done it. Maybe it would have changed things. I feel like I failed her," Nunez said.

Nunez says the family moved to Denver from El Paso, Texas a couple of years ago looking for better jobs. Neveah had just started school.

Nunez says the family kept a handgun in their home for protection.

"I just want everybody to know that she was not a bad person or my brother in law. They were just like any other couple. They had good days and bad days," Tony said.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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