Police are still investigating the motives of Christy Sheats, the Houston-area woman who fatally shot her two daughters over the weekend. New reports say that Sheats and her husband were having marital issues before the shooting, and that she drew a gun during a family meeting, telling her husband “This is about punishing you” before shooting the two girls.

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A family friend told the local ABC affiliate that Madison, 17, and Taylor, 22, were close to their father Jason, but were frequently caught in the middle of a contentious marriage. The fatal shooting happened on Jason’s birthday, and the family friend, named Madison Davey, told ABC Christy pulled out a gun after he refused to apologize for some unspecified slight:

“He told Christy, ‘Just shoot yourself. Make it easy on all of us, just shoot yourself,’ and she said, ‘No, that’s not what this is about, this is about punishing you,’” said Davey.

Davey described Christy Sheats as “mentally unstable:”

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“I always knew something would happen, but I never thought she would do this. Christy was toxic for the family. She was mentally unstable,” she added.

The Sheats’ older daughter, Taylor, was due to be married this week.

Sheats was fatally shot by a police officer in the street after killing her children. The officer who fired the shot will likely not be indicted but is currently on leave while the Texas Rangers investigate the incident, all of which is standard. Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls said the unidentified officer has had a “difficult time” following the shooting.

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Davey, the family friend, said that the gun Sheats used to kill her daughters was a “family heirloom,” inherited from her great-grandfather to protect her family. Her daughters will be buried this week in Alabama.


Screenshot via ABC 13