Police: Father killed four relatives, self in weekend shooting in North Carolina

Published 3:37 pm Thursday, January 12, 2023

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A shooting that left five dead in North Carolina occurred when a man shot and killed his wife and three children and then himself, police said Monday.

The High Point Police Department issued a news release saying that Robert Crayton Jr., 45, shot the other four and then died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday.

The news release identified the two adult victims as Athalia A. Crayton, 46; and Kasin Crayton, 18. Also killed were a 16- and 10-year-old whose names weren’t immediately released.

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Authorities said all five of those killed lived together in the home. Two others escaped the house. One of the survivors was a relative of the family and another was an acquaintance, Police Lt. Patrick Welch said at a news conference. Both were in their 20s.

Officers from the police department had responded to the address five other times since 2014, according to the news release. The most recent time was in January 2022, when officers served an involuntary mental commitment order on Robert Crayton, Welch said.

Welch said the family told investigators that Crayton was suffering from mental illness, but he declined to elaborate, citing the ongoing investigation. Authorities aren’t aware of prior arrests for Crayton, but were still investigating his background.

Welch said authorities responded to the house in 2019 in relation to an argument, but that there was no evidence of violence. He said that officers were called to the house in 2014 in response to a reported assault but that there wasn’t probable cause to make an arrest. He didn’t offer further details.

In describing the fatal shootings, the police department had previously said that officers came to the house Saturday after a man and a woman ran from the house screaming for help. Authorities said the two who escaped were unharmed. The five bodies were found in the home.

The killings happened in a neighborhood of tidy one- and two-story homes northeast of downtown High Point. The area lies southwest of Greensboro and is also about 85 miles (135 kilometers) west of Raleigh.

The shooting came days after authorities said a Utah man fatally shot his five children, his mother-in-law and his wife and then killed himself last week.