Two children died and their mother is seriously hurt after the father of the family opened fire Thursday night in Charles County, Maryland, police say.
Laila Goodwin, 4, died in her home on Westdale Court in Waldorf, the Charles County Sheriff's Office said. Her older sister, Lashelle Goodwin, 17, was found with multiple gunshot wounds and later died. The children's mother has serious injuries after she also was shot multiple times.
According to the initial investigation, the children's father, Carlton Goodwin, 37, shot his wife and daughters one by one and then shot and killed himself.
Neighbors were horrified to learn the girls had died.
"The little girl, she's a cutie. Just a cute little girl. Very playful," neighbor Latonya Williams said.
Lashelle Goodwin was an honor student at Thomas Stone High School, where she was a junior. Friend and classmate Brittany Brooks said she was thinking of the victim's mother.
"I just pray that she gets through this," she said.
Officers were called to the Goodwin family's townhouse near Crain Highway about 8:10 p.m. for a report of multiple shots fired.
When they arrived, they found the mother of the family outside with multiple gunshot wounds.
A teenage neighbor said she saw the woman outside.
"I saw a lady on the ground, blood all over her," she said.
Police received information that the 36-year-old woman's husband was inside with their two daughters, police said.
Officers entered the home and found Carlton Goodwin dead with an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.
They then found the 4-year-old girl dead in an upstairs bedroom.
Her older sister was found with multiple gunshot wounds in an upstairs bathroom. She was flown to a hospital, where she died.
The murder-suicide is under investigation. The suspected gunman had no criminal record or history of domestic violence that the sheriff's office could find, police spokeswoman Diane Richardson said. He used a registered semi-automatic handgun.
Police are searching for information on Carlton Goodwin.
"We have reached out to extended family members, and we hope that as the investigation moves forward we'll be able to at least find out what may have prompted him to do something so horrific," Richardson said.
At Thomas Stone High, administrators tried to help Lashelle Goodwin's classmates cope with the loss, vice principal Shanif Pearl said. On Friday, counselors followed the teen's class schedule and spoke with students in every classroom about their memories of her.
"She had dreams of being a graphic designer," Pearl said.