SMH: Florida Mother Kills 4 Teenage Children, Then Herself

May 26, 2012

Tonya Thomas, 33 (Photo credit: Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

Lord, what is going on in the world? The fact that murders occur everyday is not a surprise to anyone, but there is still a sense of shock whenever you hear about a mother killing her children. I’m writing about this a little late because I had not heard about this story. I was talking to my mother earlier today and she happened to mention it to me.

Last Tuesday (May 15) a Florida mother shot and killed her four teenage children at close range before turning the gun on herself. Tonya Thomas, 33, used a .38-caliber revolver loaded with hollow point bullets to carry out the murders. Thomas pumped 18 hollow point rounds into the children, some of which were shot at point-blank range.

The victims were:

Jaxs Johnson, 15 – Thomas placed the gun directly on his chest and shot him three times.

Jazzlyn Johnson, 13 – Jazzlyn was shot the most (seven times) out of all the children, with two shots directly in her chest. Her body was found in the entry hall of the home.

Joel Johnson, 12 – Joel’s body was found near Jazzlyn’s with five gunshot wounds – one piercing his heart.

Pebbles Johnson, 17 – Pebbles was found in the front yard, with three gunshot wounds.

Clockwise from top left: Pebbles Johnson, 17, Jaxs Johnson, 15, Joel Johnson, 12, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13 (Photo credit: Brevard County Sheriff’s Office)

The gun used in the murder only held six shots – Florida authorities have estimated that Thomas reloaded her gun three times before killing herself, each time taking approximately 20 seconds. Hollow point bullets are very damaging because once the bullet hits its target, it expands outward in a process called “mushrooming”.

The children ran to a neighbor’s door to ask for help and explained that their mother had shot them shortly after 5 a.m. Recordings of the 911 call indicated that the neighbor turned them away saying “Get back, you’re not coming in our house.” Cops and a Florida SWAT team arrived at the home and after a brief standoff, Thomas turned the gun on herself. Her body was found on a couch in the garage.

A funeral was held for all five victims at Temple Baptist Church in Titusville on Monday (May 21). [NY Daily News]

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