An Illinois woman who was trying desperately to leave her marriage was killed Friday along with her two children by the mother’s estranged husband, who then set their house on fire before taking his own life.
Carlos Gomez, 44, shot his estranged wife, Lupe Gomez, 43, and two of his stepchildren, Briana Rodriguez, 22, and Emilio Rodriguez, 20, outside their home in Oak Forest, according to Oak Forest Police, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Carlos then barricaded himself inside their home and set the house on fire, sending loud popping noises throughout the neighborhood as 10-foot high flames engulfed the home, neighbor Brad Weert told the Chicago Sun-Times.
After firefighters put out the huge blaze, police found Carlos inside, dead of a gunshot wound to the head, the medical examiner’s office said, the Sun-Times reports.
His death was ruled a suicide, according to the medical examiner’s office. The other deaths were ruled homicides.
Briana and Emilio’s father, Jorge Rodriguez, is reeling from his children’s deaths.
“I’m broken. I miss them,” he told ABC 7 Chicago. “They were great kids. They’re my life. Now, I can’t right now, like my soul is not here.”
The fatal shooting came to light on Friday at 6:35 a.m., when police were called to a home on Ann Marie Lane in Oak Forest about a domestic disturbance and found two people shot in the driveway and a third in the road near the house, according to Oak Forest Police, the Sun-Times reports.
As police and SWAT members convened on the scene, Carlos ran into the house, locking himself inside.
A child was able to leave the house before the fire started, police said, the Sun-Times reports.
Residents were told to shelter in place for several hours after the shooting that has left them shaken.
Lupe had called police “numerous” times since 2016 for domestic disturbances. Carlos was charged with domestic battery in one of the incidents, according to the Tribune. It is unclear whether that case had been adjudicated at the time of the killings.
At the time of her murder, Lupe was trying to get away from Carolos, Navarez told Patch.
“I think he lost control over her,” Navarez told Patch Illinois. “She already had lawyers involved, documents, everything you can think of. And this is what happened.”
Navarez is caring for Lupe’s two remaining daughters, 15 and 13. The 13-year-old’s birthday was the day after her mother was killed, according to Patch.
Navarez started a GoFundMe to help raise money for Lupe’s funeral and to support her two surviving daughters, Patch reports.
“These two girls have been left with nothing,” he wrote. “They have lost their mom their home their siblings all at once. They will need a lot of emotional support and resources towards their future.”
Another GoFundMe has been set up to help defray the costs of Brianna and Emilio’s funerals.
Oak Forest Police did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment. Authorities asked anyone with information to contact Detective Sgt. Ryan Burnett at 708-687-1376
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