An Oklahoma man shot his wife and children before killing himself on Easter Sunday.
Tulsa, Oklahoma, police say Eric Widger Sr., 45, shot himself, his wife, Melisa Widger, and their two adult children at the family’s home, as PEOPLE reports.
His 20-year-old daughter with special needs, Nichol “Nikki” Widger, was killed by the shots. His 18-year-old son was shot in the wrist and leg, but survived.
The family’s trouble began when Melisa and Nikki moved out of the family’s home two months prior due to marital issues.
On Sunday, Widger took to Facebook to post emotional messages. He shared bible verses, family photos and wrote “I need my wife, daughter and son.”
That night, the Widgers’ son asked Melisa to come by the home because his father was “having a bad day.”
Melisa and Nikki arrived around 9 p.m. and the couple began to argue as Nikki went to watch TV with her brother and his girlfriend.
Things apparently escalated and Widger turned the gun on his entire family.
“At one point he grabs the gun and shoots his entire family,” said Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Casey Roebuck. “It is really, really sad.”
As shots rang out, the son was able to escape to a neighbor’s home and call 911. The son’s girlfriend, who Widger apparently did not try to kill, also escaped.
“[Widger] allowed her to leave uninjured,” Roebuck said. “When the shooting is occurring, she had to walk by [him] as she is leaving the house. Was she just not a target? I don’t know.”
Widger then called a relative to confess what he had just done and told them he was going to also kill himself. He apparently also left “unusual writing on the wall,” police said.
The relative that Widger phoned also called 911, but it was too late. When authorities arrived, Widger, Melisa and Nikki were dead.
Widger is said to have had mental health issues, but was never abusive to his family.
“This is what makes this so hard to understand,” Roebuck said. “At least we were able to give the family the answers as to what happened, even if we don’t understand why it happened. It is hard to understand how any human being could kill their spouse and their own child. I don’t know if we can fully understand what goes on in someone’s mind when they do something like that.”
In addition to this tragic event, the family’s home was soon looted by burgulars, who tried to steal Widger’s guns. Police ended up in a stand-off with one of the culprits.
“There were dozens of weapons in the house,” Roebuck says. “We arrested one of them at the scene and the other one wouldn’t come out, so we had a three-hour standoff with the burglary suspect. We had to send the SWAT team in. We had to shoot pepper balls on the house.”
This is a major case for the Tulsa Police Department, so they are doing everything they can for Widger’s son.
“Typically Tulsa County gets two or three homicides a year, so this was a pretty big case for us. We called in all of our detectives,” Roebuck said. “Our heart goes out to the son. He lost his mother and sister. His whole family is gone and his home is a crime scene.”