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A North Carolina man fatally shot his wife and three kids before killing himself in a grisly murder-suicide that left five dead over the weekend, according to authorities.

Local police identified the gunman as Robert Crayton Jr., who had a history of mental illness before the gunfire began inside a home Saturday morning. The 45-year-old man’s wife Athalia Crayton, 46, and children, Kasin Crayton and two other unidentified minors, 16 and 10, were all killed, according to High Point police.

Two other people, a relative and an acquaintance were able to escape from the home and knocked on neighbors’ doors seeking help, High Point police said. Both survivors – a man and a woman – are in their 20s.

Police Lt. Patrick Welch said during a press conference stream on WFMY-TV that loved ones of the slain family told police Robert Crayton suffered from mental illness. In January 2022, he was served an involuntary mental commitment order, Welch said. He said police believe the family took out the mental commitment order.

Police say a man killed his wife, three kids and then himself on Saturday.
Police say a man killed his wife, three kids and then himself on Saturday.
WFMY News 2
Police found all five bodies inside the home when they responded to 911 calls from neighbors.
Police found all five bodies inside the home when they responded to 911 calls from neighbors.
WFMY News 2

Authorities paid five visits to the home since 2014, police said. Crayton was never arrested, Welch said.

“They have not told us any information that he was necessarily a violent person on a daily basis,” Welch said of talks with the family’s relatives. “The only information that we have up to this point is that he was suffering with some mental illness.”

Welch said it’s unclear if the gun was obtained legally. He also said a motive for the deadly shooting inside the home was not yet known.

Police Lt. Patrick Welch said the man had a history of mental illness.
Police Lt. Patrick Welch said the man had a history of mental illness.
WFMY News 2

“I’ve expressed this to the family as we may never know why,” he said. “What goes through the hearts and minds of a person who would do this sometimes dies with him.”

The North Carolina murder-suicide shooting happened just days after eight people died in a murder-suicide in Utah where a man shot and killed his wife, five kids and mother-in-law before fatally shooting himself. 

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