A Marine and woman died in an apparent murder-suicide Wednesday morning while a 4-year-old was possibly in the room with them at a west Houston hotel, police said.
Houston police originally got a call from police at a Marine Corps base in California, who said one of their service members was reportedly posting “disturbing information” on social media, said Lt. Larry Crowson of the Houston Police Department.
Officers were told the man was in Houston and might have been suicidal. They also said he was likely with a woman and a 4-year-old child, Crowson said.
Police weren’t able to find the man, but were called after midnight to the Red Roof Inn at 2960 West Sam Houston Parkway, near Westheimer.
Crowson said the man and the woman were shot in an apparent murder-suicide.
The 4-year-old possibly witnessed the incident and went to the hotel’s front desk for help, saying the man shot his mother, Crowson said.
The man and woman were in some sort of relationship. The child was taken to the hospital to be evaluated, as a precaution.
It’s unclear why the service member was in Houston, and whether the woman and child lived here. Their identities haven’t been released.
Capt. Martin Harris, director of communications for the U.S. Marine Corps Western Recruiting Region, said the shooting was a “fairly significant and serious incident” but declined to comment further on the investigation.
“We are aware of a serious incident that occurred overnight in Houston, involving a Marine currently assigned to duty in San Diego,” Harris said in an email. “Our primary concern is the privacy and support of families involved.”
The Houston Police Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service are overseeing the investigation.
Suicides in the military are treated very seriously, Harris said. Service members are trained on how to identify when someone might have suicidal ideations, and if someone is identified, military leaders are responsible for taking the next steps in reporting the event.
In 2016, 275 suicides occurred among active military members of all branches, according to a Department of Defense report. The rate is highest in the Army, with 127 suicides reported, but in the Marine Corps, 37 suicides occurred that year.
The suicide-mortality rate in the Marine Corps is 20.1 per 100,000 people, according to the report.
Non-fatal suicide attempts are even more prevalent, with 1,263 occurring across all services in 2016, the report found.
©2018 the Houston Chronicle
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.