Man charged after five children and three adults found dead in Texas home: media

Neighbours gather behind police barrier tape at the scene of a shooting during which eight people were killed, in Houston, Texas on Sunday. Eight people, five of them children, were killed at a house in Houston and a suspect in the shooting surrender
Neighbours gather behind police barrier tape at the scene of a shooting during which eight people were killed, in Houston, Texas on Sunday. Eight people, five of them children, were killed at a house in Houston and a suspect in the shooting surrendered to police after an hour-long standoff, law enforcement officials said.PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - A man who engaged police in a standoff at a Texas home has been charged with capital murder after the bodies of five children and three adults were found inside, US media reported Sunday.

The eight people were found Saturday in the Houston-area house "after a welfare check was conducted on the premises", the Harris County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

Deputies from the sheriff's office were called to the residence on Saturday night, spokesman Thomas Gilliland told the KHOU news channel.

Ryan Sullivan, a spokesman for the Sheriff's Office, said deputies were called to a house in the northwestern part of the county to perform a welfare check. After they arrived, the deputies received information that a man in the home was wanted on a warrant for aggravated assault on a family member, and a sergeant summoned the High Risk Operations Unit, Sullivan said.

While waiting for the unit to arrive, the deputies saw the body of a child through a window and decided to move in, according to Sullivan. The sergeant and three deputies then forced their way into the home, but pulled back after the man began shooting, he said.

The man surrendered about an hour later after talks with the High Risk Operations Unit and a hostage negotiation team, Sullivan said.

The authorities have not released the names, ages or sexes of the victims, or said how they died. The victims' bodies were taken by the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences to determine a cause of death, Sullivan said.

A man inside the house began shooting after deputies forced their way in, KHOU reported.

The Harris County Sheriff's Office tweeted that the man, 49-year-old David Conley, was taken into custody after negotiators convinced him to surrender.

Conley had been charged with capital murder, KHOU reported Sunday.

The Houston Chronicle reported that Conley had a lengthy criminal record that included charges of beating his girlfriend at the home where the bodies were found.

The Chronicle cited court documents saying that Conley was arrested in July after authorities said he slammed his girlfriend's head into a refrigerator at the home. He previously spent nine months in jail after a 2013 conviction for assaulting the same woman, who received an emergency protective order prohibiting him from contacting her, according to the report.

The report also said his other arrests include convictions of felony retaliation in 2002 and of possession of a controlled substance in 1994.

His relationship to the victims were unknown at this time, KHOU added.