Mourners converged on the home on Bright Avenue in Port St. John where five people were killed Tuesday. (image credit Rik Jesse/Florida Today)
Melbourne, FL (written by Scott Gunnerson/Florida Today) -- At least two of the four children who were killed by their mother Tuesday in Port St. John, Fla., had a revolver fired against their chests, the Brevard County (Fla.) District medical examiner said.
According to the medical examiner's report, there were 19 gunshot wounds from jacketed, hollow-point bullets found on the victims of the early-morning incident, including the self-inflicted wound to 33-year-old Tonya Thomas. About 36 minutes elapsed from the time of the first 9-1-1 reports of shots fired to when on-scene police officers reported hearing the final shot.
Police believe Thomas used a Taurus .38-caliber revolver to shoot and kill her children Joel Johnson, 12, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Pebbles Johnson, 17, before killing herself.
The children were shot at a distance of more than two feet and at contact range, said Dr. Sajid Qaiser, the medical examiner.
The revolver was pressed directly on Jaxs' chest when three shots were fired at the 15-year-old. He was found in the family room.
"The shots were taken at contact range, where the muzzle of the gun was touching the body surface," said Qaiser.
Pebbles, 17, was found dead on the front lawn from three shots from more than two feet away.
Jazzlyn, 13, was shot seven times and found dead in the entry hall of the home. Two shots were to the central chest with the gun in contact with her body, Qaiser said.
Joel, 12, was shot five times from more than two feet away. He was found near his sister, Jazzlyn, in the entry hallway. He was shot three times to the middle of his chest, with one hitting his heart.
Thomas' body was found on a couch in the garage.
The weapon could hold as many as six rounds at a time, said Herb Stratton, owner of Action Gun Outfitters and Action Gun and Archery in Melbourne, Fla.
It would need to be reloaded three times to account for 19 shots, but each reload could be less than a minute.
"Under a stress situation, it's probably going to take 15 to 20 seconds to reload," Stratton said.
The jacketed hollow-point bullet is the ammunition of choice for most people with a concealed weapons permit because of its ability to stop an assailant.
Unlike a full-metal jacket round, a hollow-point causes more tissue damage and blood loss.
"The hollow-point bullet expands out causing the maximum amount of damage," Stratton said.