A 42-year-old Utah man gunned down seven family members, including his five children between ages 4 and 17, then turned the gun on himself — two weeks after his wife had filed for divorce, authorities said.
Officials in Enoch City on Thursday identified the suspected gunman in the murder-suicide as 42-year-old Michael Haight, and the victims as his wife, Tausha Haight, 40, their three daughters, ages 17, 12 and 7, and two sons, ages 7 and 4.
Also killed was Tausha Haight’s mother, 78-year-old Gail Earl, according to a press release from the Enoch City government. Each of the victims appeared to have gunshot wounds.
Court records showed wife Tausha had filed for divorce from Michael on Dec. 21, but it was not immediately known why she had sought to end their marriage.
Police sent officers to perform a welfare check on the Haight family Wednesday after relatives and friends contacted officials saying they were worried and had not heard from the victims.
Cops found all eight family members dead inside their home still decked with Christmas lights on Albert Drive.
“At this time, we do not believe there is a threat to the public or that there are any suspects at large,” officials said in a press release.
Michael Haight was listed as an Allstate Insurance agent based out of Cedar City, Utah, but a family friend told Fox 13 that he had quit his job just days before the slaughter.
Enoch is a town of about 8,000 people located 245 miles south of Salt Lake City and about equally distant from Las Vegas.
Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said the community was left reeling from news of the tragedy and that the Haights were well-known in the town.
“Many of us have served with them in church, in the community and gone to school with these individuals,” Dotson said Wednesday night. “This community at this time is hurting. They’re feeling loss, they’re feeling pain and they have a lot of questions.”
Michael and Tausha Haight’s five children attended schools in the Iron County School District, officials said in a letter sent to parents.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement Thursday on behalf of President Biden and the first lady, saying they are “mourning the the Enoch City community” in the wake of the shooting.
“Too many Americans have lost loved ones or had their lives forever changed due to gun violence, and gun violence remains the leading cause of death for children in America,” Jean-Pierre added. “Less than one month after we marked 10 years since the Sandy Hook tragedy, another mass shooting has claimed the lives of five more children in Enoch City.”