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Mother may have shot 4 kids, police say

May 15, 2012 at 3:58 PM   |   Comments

PORT ST. JOHN, Fla., May 15 (UPI) -- Police said they believe a mother shot her four children and then herself in her Port St. John, Fla., home early Tuesday.

The next-door neighbor awoke to the sound of gunshots around 4:50 a.m., followed by a knock to the door. The neighbor opened the door to find three children who said they had been shot.

The neighbor gave one of them a towel for his injuries shortly before their mother came outside and called the children home. They left, after which the neighbor heard more gunshots from inside the house and called 911, The Brevard Times reported.

Sheriff's deputies arrived on the scene at 4:54 a.m. to find 17-year-old Pebbles Johnson lying on the front lawn. They got her to safety, although she died shortly after being treated by emergency personnel.

More shots followed. WFTV, Orlando, Fla., reported officers saw someone come outside briefly with a gun, before retreating into the house. One last shot followed before two SWAT teams were dispatched to enter the home.

It was there officers found the bodies of Tonya Thomas, 33, Joel Johnson, 12, Jazlin Johnson, 13, and Jaxs Johnson, 15.

Sheriff's deputies said Thomas appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound and apparently shot her four children.

WFTV reported Thomas sent a text message to her neighbor around 3 a.m. saying she wanted to be cremated with her children. The neighbor, who was asleep, did not see the text message until after shots were heard.

WKMG-TV, Orlando, Fla., reported police had been called to the home for a domestic disturbance a few weeks ago.

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