SUMTER, S.C. — Sumter police say a man killed three children--including two of his own--and another man inside a home in the city Tuesday night.
Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark gave an update on the investigation Wednesday afternoon on the incident. Five people are confirmed dead: 43-year-old Charles Slacks Jr., 5-year-old Aayden Holliday Slacks, 11-year-old Ava Holliday, 6-year-old Aason Holliday Slacks, and Command Sgt. Maj. Carlos Evans, 38.
Roark said Slacks is believed to have killed the other four and then turned the gun on himself.
According to Roark, the incident took place around 10 p.m. Tuesday at a home on Whitetail Circle. Slacks Jr., who was the ex-husband of a woman living at the home, entered the home using a key.
Officers say he then went to the back of the home where his ex-wife and Evans were talking. Roark said Slacks then opened fire, killing Evans.
Roark said Slacks Jr. then went inside the home and began to go upstairs where the children were sleeping. His wife followed, but Roark said he then turned the gun on her. Her phone was upstairs charging, so she ran back outside to try and get Evans' cell phone.
At that point, she heard multiple shots being fired. She ran back inside and up the stairs where she saw her ex-husband then take his own life with his gun.
She then went outside and found a neighbor to call 9-1-1 for help.
"When you have a situation where little children were sleeping in the comfort of their own bed and at no fault of their own had their life taken particularly by a father and a stepfather, that's difficult for us to rationalize," Roark said.
Roark said at this time there is no motive. It's believed Slacks Jr. may have shared custody of the children with his wife. Aiden and Aason were the couple's children.
Evans, the command sergeant major for the Headquarters & Headquarters Battalion, US Army Central, was stationed at the Army base at Shaw Air Force base, and all involved are involved in the military.
The Sumter School District released a statement saying the children were all students at area schools. According to the district, two siblings attended Millwood Elementary School, and another sibling attended Alice Drive Middle School.
"Our sincere condolences are extended to the family," said Superintendent Dr. William Wright in a statement. "School counselors and our Crisis Response Team are at the schools to assist our students and staff who need assistance with this tragic loss. Our hearts are filled with sadness, and we will continue to lend support to one another during this time."