Calif. grandparents of family killed in Spring home: 'You have to forgive'

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by KHOU.com staff

khou.com

Posted on July 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Updated Friday, Jul 11 at 2:36 PM

HOUSTON -- The California grandparents of the family shot and killed in their Spring home are coming to Houston.

Their response to the tragedy is nothing short of remarkable.

It was Wednesday night when the parents of Stephen Stay received the phone call that their son, his wife Katie, and the couple’s four children had been shot and killed in their home – allegedly by Ronald Haskell, Katie’s ex-brother-in-law.

Grandparents Tom and Joyce Stay, however, are working to forgive Haskell, who deputies said dressed up as a FedEx delivery man and led police on a chase ending in his arrest later the same night.

The Stays said they are relying on their faith to get them through the tragedy as they head to Houston to be with their 15-year-old granddaughter -- the sole survivor of the mass shooting.

“I told her how sorry I was of everything that happened but was so grateful that she is still here with us,” Joyce Stay said of the granddaughter who survived. “She says, ‘My mom and dad are in a better place now.’”

“You have to forgive, and that’s a process, and we can do that even though six of our children have been taken from us,” said the grandmother.

Deputies said it wasn’t just by chance they stopped Haskell where they did. It was the surviving granddaughter who pointed them to where Haskell was going to possibly carry out another attack at the home of his ex-wife’s brother’s.

“He came looking for his family, I’m sure,” explained neighbor Andrea Alleweireldt, who attended church with the victims. “It should have never happened. He made threats I’ve heard. I wish there was a way to apprehend him before he acted on the threats.”

Haskell was boxed in by a SWAT team for hours before finally giving up. During most of the standoff, Haskell is described as “just sitting in his car."

Haskell appeared in a Houston courtroom on Friday morning where he briefly fainted and was carried out in a chair.

Prosecutors said Haskell passed out because he is facing the reality of his actions, while his court-appointed attorney said the defendant is not mentally sound.

Back in Spring, community support for the family has been growing with prayers and flowers being left at the doorsteps of the home where they were killed. There’s also an online fundraiser for the family which already obtained more than $131,000 in about 24 hours.

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