BARNHART, Mo. – Sheriff's deputies said a mother shot her 11-year-old son before turning the gun on herself early this weekend.
The family told 5 On Your Side the 11-year-old, Sam, died from his injuries early Monday morning. They said his organs will be donated.
The original story is below:
The double shooting happened late Friday night, early Saturday morning along Valley Drive. It’s a fairly small street, with about half a dozen houses on either side of the street.
Neighbors told 5 On Your Side that the family moved into their home about a month ago. So, most people did not know them beyond a friendly ‘hello.’
“We're very close in the neighborhood and we like to keep it that way,” said Corey Lewis, who has lived on Valley Drive for about a year.
Many people describe waking up to police cars and fire trucks not far from their homes.
“We knew something terrible had happened,” said Amanda, who was staying with friends whose home is directly across the street from the incident.
Police said 49-year-old Tara Kelleher and 11-year-old son were found in a back bedroom, both with gunshot wounds to the head. Kelleher is believed to have shot her son and then herself. Kelleher’s fiancé was sleeping one room over and, according to police, woke up to a loud ‘boom’ and called 911. Police also said that Kelleher had been texting with a family member earlier in the day Friday, a few hours before the shooting. Her texts were concerning. So, the family member called her and she reassured him that she was ‘fine,’ but Kelleher hung up the phone abruptly.
"You get the call and even when you come here you kind of pray and hope that it's exaggerated or, maybe it’s not as bad as it sounds,” said Detective Sgt. Brian Taylor with Jefferson County Sheriff's Department. “Unfortunately, in this case, it was,” he added.
Detective Sgt. Taylor said while they are aware of a psychiatric history, police still do not know what this mother’s motive could have been.
“You just wonder what was going through her mind that she could shoot her son,” Amanda said. “What is happening in this world for that to be able to occur?”
Lewis said as soon as he got to church Saturday, he prayed for this family and the 11-year-old.
"Barnhart is small as it is,” Lewis said. “But, your neighbors are all you got, and you have to look out for each other,” he said.