GALVESTON, Texas – Neighbors of a family killed in a murder-suicide saw no signs of trouble.
Flor de Maria Pineda, husband Mauricio Morales, their 10-year-old son Mauricio, Jr. and 5-year-old son David all died on the eighth floor of the San Luis Hotel in Galveston Monday.
Investigators said Flor shot her husband, two sons then turned the gun on herself.
News of the tragedy stunned neighbors who called the family “beautiful people.” They said Flor was very religious, always polite, friendly, helpful and caring. Neighbors attended birthday parties she threw for her sons. On occasion, Flor even hand delivered candy with bible verses to friends, neighbors said.
“She was very friendly,” Shirley Davis, a neighbor said. “She waved at us. Her husband was very friendly. And Daniel and Mauricio they would ride their little bicycles, little tricycles on my driveway and if they saw me outside they would get off those bikes and come hug me. (It) meant more than a lot just to see the little young people so in love with you.”
The Galveston Police Department says officers were alerted to the sounds of "pops" coming from the eighth floor around 4:30 a.m. Monday. When police arrived at the room, the door was dead-bolted from the inside and they heard "faint moaning."
Once the officers gained entry they found a 39-year-old Mauricio and his two sons lying in bed, all with gunshot wounds. The say a 37-year-old Flor was found was found on the floor with a gunshot wound to the head.
"The motive is unknown at this time, but forensic data collected at the scene indicates that the female is believed to be the shooter at this time, and is believed to have killed her two children and her husband before apparently taking her own life with a 9mm handgun found adjacent to her body," wrote the Galveston Police Department.
Police say the woman and one of the boys were unresponsive but appeared to be alive; they were transported to UTMB where they were pronounced dead.
Goose Creek Consolidated School District confirms both of the boys attended Victoria Walker Elementary. Mauricio Jr. was a 5th grader and David was kindergarten student, according to neighbors.
The family checked in at the San Luis Resort around 7:00 p.m. on Sunday. Police believe it to be a case of murder-suicide, and they are not looking for any suspects.
“It's definitely not one of those things we experience here in Galveston very often and that this community has to experience very often," said Captain Joshua Schirard. "Neither is it one of those things that a family will ever want to have to experience."
Paul Schultz, Vice President of Hospitality for Landry's Inc., released the following statement Monday afternoon.
Our thoughts are with the victims and their family members during this difficult time. We are still gathering information about this isolated incident, however it appears to have been a murder suicide amongst a family in their room.We are fully cooperating with the Police Department during their investigation and will assist them in any way we can. Since this is under investigation by the Galveston Police Department, please contact 409-765-3702 for specific details surrounding the matter.