PONDER, Texas - A Ponder mother is grieving after the murders of her three young children and her boyfriend in a murder-suicide.
Neighbors in the Denton County community gathered Wednesday night to pray for the family. No one seemed to know them well but they shared their grief that five lives were lost.
“Just know that we are not alone. We have community members who are willing to step out and say that I’m here for you,” said Amelia Torres, a neighbor.
Law enforcement officials said 39-year-old Justin Painter showed up at his ex-wife’s house in the 600 block of Lonestar Park Lane in Ponder sometime before 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.
He shot and killed his three children and his ex-wife’s current boyfriend. He also shot his ex-wife before turning the gun on himself. The ex-wife, Amanda Simpson, was the only person who survived the murder-suicide.
The Tarrant County Medical Examiner’s Office has identified Simpson’s boyfriend as 29-year-old Seth Richardson. The children were identified as 4-year-old Drake Painter, 6-year-old Caydence Painter and 8-year-old Odin Painter.
Their mother shared her agony in a live video from her hospital bed where she’s recovering from a gunshot wound.
“So now I don’t have my babies. You guys know they were my everything, my purpose to breath,” Simpson said. “I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to act. I’m at a loss.”
In the video, Simpson also expressed anger toward the judge who handled her divorce case. She said Painter had previously tried to commit suicide and that he was mentally unstable. She said the judge ignored her warnings.
One neighbor who talked to FOX 4 said people saw the father arrive at the house Wednesday morning with the children, bringing them into the home.
Many said they were shocked as word quickly spread up and down the street about what had happened inside the home.
"That's always a terrible thing to hear no matter who the family is whether you know them or not, somebody to be in that much pain," Diana Booker said. "Regretful, regretful really sad pray for them, pray for the family, pray for the neighborhood."
The Denton County Sheriff's Department is helping the Ponder Police Department investigate the case.