Chicago police believe a father fatally shot his twin 10-year-old children on Monday before turning his shotgun on himself.
Police discovered 45-year-old Derrick Sanders dead in the hallway of his West Rogers Park apartment on Monday morning, according to local TV stations WBBM and WLS and the Chicago Sun-Times. Sanders had fatally shot himself in the face.
His son and daughter were also found dead at the home. The children were identified by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office as Addison and Mason Sanders, PEOPLE confirms.
They were both shot in the back of the head.
Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed the “senseless” killings in a brief statement on Twitter after the shooting:
“Our condolences go out to the family affected by the senseless murder suicide,” he wrote, adding: “A father, cowardly took the life of his two 10 year old children before turning the gun on himself. The offender had no previous history with the Chicago Police Department.”
Leslie Lawrence, a neighbor who lives below Sanders’ apartment, told the Sun-Times that she woke up to the sound of three loud gunshots at 5:15 a.m. There was a pause between each shot, she recalled.
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Lawrence told the paper that Sanders seemed to suffer from depression.
“I saw it in his face and his tone, so, me being friendly, I’d try to give him a couple of words, crack a joke,” Lawrence said, adding that she had never suspected Sanders would harm his children.
Addison and Mason were described by a second neighbor, Brenda Adams, as “happy, well-behaved children.”
When they weren’t living with their mother, who shared joint custody of them with Sanders, they were playing outside together or going to a ball game. The children would come over to their father’s every other weekend, the Sun-Times reports.
“I don’t know why he did this,” Adams told the paper. “I know he had some issues … but he loved his kids, it makes no sense.”
Said neighbor Iulia Oarca: “I’ve heard about robberies, but never anything that bad. I can’t believe this happened here.”
A motive remains unclear as police continuing to investigate.
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