SACHSE, Texas—Police said a former criminology professor fatally shot her 7-year-old son and then killed herself on Friday as police waited outside with her estranged husband, who was there to pick up the child after receiving court-ordered custody.
Less than an hour before the shooting, a jury granted Rodney McCall, 42, of Wylie, sole custody of Eryk Hayslett-McCall and terminated the parental rights of 43-year-old Karen Hayslett-McCall, The Dallas Morning News reported (http://dallasne.ws/qqvE59). After the hearing, Rodney McCall, a former Wylie schoolteacher, called Sachse police and asked them to meet him at the house.
"I think there was some thought that there would be a problem with the transfer," Sachse Police Chief Dennis Veach said, though he said there was no expectation of the level of violence that occurred.
Police said in a statement that officers outside the house just before 11 a.m. Friday heard three shots inside. They forcibly entered and found Karen Hayslett-McCall and the boy dead in an upstairs bedroom. Police said it appears she shot the second-grader, then killed herself.
Veach said three officers responded because they all happened to be in the area. Two officers were at the front door and one was at the back.
The police chief said the father and the officers arrived at the home at the same time. The father knocked loudly on the door but got no response.
Lisa Griffith, a neighbor, told the newspaper she was heading out to walk her dogs when she noticed the commotion next door. She said she saw McCall in front of his house, screaming, "My son is dead!"
Hayslett-McCall filed for divorce in March 2010. Darren Schraeder, her attorney, said that after losing custody of her son her demeanor was quiet.
Until June, Hayslett-McCall was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Dallas. Before coming to UT-Dallas in 2002, she was a research analyst at Penn State, and before that had worked as a clinical psychologist and law enforcement officer.
The Collin County medical examiner was conducting autopsies.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com