ENOCH, UTAH (AP) – A Utah man who fatally shot his five children, mother-in-law and wife and then killed himself removed guns owned by himself and his wife days before the murder-suicide, leaving the family “vulnerable”, a relative said on Friday.
The wife, Tausha Haight, told her extended family that her husband, Mike Haight, took the guns from the family’s home this week, just two weeks after she had filed for divorce, sister-in-law Jennie Earl told The Associated Press.
She said she did not know how Tausha Haight felt about the removal but said it “left the family vulnerable”, noting that both Tausha and her mother, Gail Earl, were trained in gun safety and personal protection. Jennie Earl’s comments came after the Earl family issued a statement lamenting the tragedy and revealing that guns had been removed.
“Protective arms were purposely removed from the home prior to the incident because all adults were properly trained to protect human life,” the Earl family said in a statement. “This is the type of loss that will continue to occur in families, communities and this nation when protective arms are no longer accessible.” Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said local law enforcement were not involved, saying in an e-mailed statement that police “has never had reason and has never had to remove firearms”.
The revelation provides more insight into what happened in the days leading up to a shooting in a southern Utah home that occurred after Tausha Haight had filed for divorce on December 21 from her husband of 19 years. The victims were found on Wednesday when police did a welfare check at the residence, according city officials in Enoch, a small town of about 8,000 people located 394 kilometres south of Salt Lake City.
Without knowing the details about how the shootings unfolded it is not clear whether having those firearms in the home could have helped stop the bloodshed, Jennie Earl said.