ITALY, Texas — Toys are scattered on the lawn outside a purple home near Stafford Elementary School in Italy, Texas. Little shoes are lined up on the front porch. These are the neighborhood memories of the children who lived there.
On Friday, three children were stabbed to death. Police say 25-year-old Shamaiya Hall killed her 6-year-old and 5-year-old twins. Officials also confirm she injured her 4-year-old and 13-month-old baby.
In the small city of Italy, news traveled fast about the murders.
“I was flabbergasted,” said Teresa Eveland.
She lives less than two blocks away from the scene.
“Helicopters were flying above my home," she said.
Eveland has custody of her niece, who attends Stafford Elementary School. She said she was dropping her off last week when she saw the children alive.
“I watched those babies go to school the day before. The little one was holding the hands of the two twins. She walked him across the road and I thought, 'how cute.' You know, the mom has taught her to help take care of and watch out for her siblings," said Eveland.
Little did she know that same day, those three siblings would be killed.
She said her niece is shaken by what happened, and unfortunately, relates to the situation. Her own little brother was killed two years ago by family violence.
Her niece asked questions about what happened to her schoolmates on Friday.
“She said I don’t know how a mom could do that. They’re supposed to protect their children," Eveland said. “I pray that the surviving children have some safe home to go to.”
She knows from experience the amount of support these younger siblings will need.