According to city officials, eight family members, including five children, were found shot to death in a rural Utah home on Wednesday. Michael Haight, 42, the father of the home, is believed to be the killer who later committed suicide.
According to a statement issued by the City of Enoch on Thursday, the victims include the suspect’s wife, Tausha Haight, 40, Tausha Height’s mother, Gail Earl, 78, and the couple’s five children: a 4-year-old boy, a 7-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl, a 12-year-old girl, and a 17-year-old girl.
“Investigators currently believe there are no suspects outstanding,” according to a statement released by the city. “Evidence suggests that the suspect took his own life after killing seven others in the home.”
The Daily Mail reports that the suspect was an Allstate insurance agent who killed his wife, mother-in-law, children, and himself after his spouse filed for divorce.
On Jan. 4, police officers responded to a call requesting a welfare check at a home located in the 4900 North block of Albert Drive, according to an earlier press release from the city. There are approximately 7,500 residents in the small town of Enoch, located approximately 350 miles southwest of Salt Lake City.
“Officers checked the residence and found three adults and five minors deceased inside the home,” according to the release. “Each appeared to have sustained gunshot wounds.”
The reason for the welfare check at the address is unclear, and officials did not provide any further information regarding the incident or an explanation for the shootings. Authorities, however, stated that they believed there was no ongoing threat to the public or that “any suspects were still at large.”
In a video statement, Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson stated that the family was well known in the community, which was devastated by the news of their violent deaths.
“We all know this family. Many of us have served with them in church, in the community, and gone to school with these individuals, and so this community, at this time, is hurting. They’re feeling loss, they’re feeling pain – they have a lot of questions,” Dotson explained. “We won’t know the mindsets, the thoughts of the individuals who experienced this tragedy, but we all can pray that their families and the neighbors and all will come to an understanding of what happened in this place, probably in a day or two, or maybe longer.”
Names, ages, and relationships between the victims have not been released.
Iron County School District (ICSD), where all five deceased children were enrolled, released a letter to parents calling the incident a “tragic loss” that will likely raise many emotions, concerns, and questions among students and their parents.
“We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as needed,” according to the letter.
On social media, state government officials expressed their condolences.
“Our hearts go out to all those affected by this senseless violence,” tweeted Utah Governor Spencer Cox. “Please keep the community of Enoch in your prayers.”
Deidre M. Henderson, the Lieutenant Governor of Utah, also tweeted, “What a tragedy. I’m praying for the community of Enoch tonight.”
According to Richard Jensen, a member of the Enoch City Council, one of the deceased family members was “a respected community member and church leader,” adding that the tragic incident was “sending shock waves” throughout the community.