Saturday, December 16, 2017
Breaking News

911 tape shows neighbors turned away kids who were shot

ORLANDO — Neighbors of a Florida mother who fatally shot her four children before killing herself weren't sure who was injured after hearing gunshots and refused to admit three of the woman's kids who were trying to get in their house, according to a 911 call released Wednesday.

"I knew this was gonna happen you guys," a crying female caller told dispatchers in the early Tuesday recording. "The boy's in our front yard — get him a towel — he's got blood on his right side."

Initially, the caller said one of the children said the youngest child shot the mother. Later, she said the children told her husband their mother was shooting at them.

Amid the confusion, the caller apparently warned one of the children not to enter her home.

"Get back, you're not coming in our house," she can be heard saying in the recording.

The caller's husband told a dispatcher in the 911 call that the children were frantically trying to enter their house.

"They tried to break in our front door to get in, I guess to try to get away from her — whoever's got the gun," he told the dispatcher. "So I grabbed my gun and ran outside and one's laying there bleeding at the front door."

The dispatcher then asked where the bleeding child went and was told that "he went back to the residence."

That's because the mother — Tonya Thomas, 33 — had come out of her house and called the children home, Brevard County Sheriff's officials said.

The children complied and when deputies went to Thomas' house, they found her dead of a self-inflicted wound. Her children — Jaxs Johnson, 15; Jazzlyn Johnson, 13; and Joel Johnson, 12 — were fatally shot inside the house. A fourth child, Pebbles Johnson, 17, was found shot to death in the front yard of a neighbor's house.

Authorities said they have no motive for the killings and are not sure why the children followed the mother's orders to return back to their house.

Autopsies began Wednesday and are expected to conclude Thursday, although results aren't expected for at least six weeks.

The shooting happened in Port St. John, about 15 miles west of Cape Canaveral in an area known as the "Space Coast" because it is the home of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, the location of numerous shuttle launches.

The caller's husband also voiced safety concerns to the dispatcher because of the uncertain situation.

"I don't know who has the gun, so I'm not walking out there," the 911 caller's husband said just before the call ended and deputies arrived at Thomas' house. "I'm armed, but not going out there and putting myself in danger."

A second 911 recording indicates the dispatcher called the neighbors back and the woman who made the initial 911 call spoke of an Easter Day incident in which she said one of the children kicked out some windows at Thomas' house.

The woman then interrupted her story, telling the dispatcher she could see Thomas walking around the yard with a gun.

"It's dark out there and she was in the house when we first called," she said. "The kids were in the front yard with one banging on the door, 'Help us, help us.' Like I said, there was so much confusion going on this morning that we couldn't tell who shot who."

Comments

Bucs’ Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David out for Monday’s game vs. Falcons

TAMPA — As if containing All-Pro Julio Jones and the Falcons offense isn’t challenging enough, the Bucs will try to do so Monday night without perhaps their top defensive players, tackle Gerald McCoy and linebacker Lavonte David.On Saturday, Bucs coa...
Updated: 23 minutes ago
Special counsel now has thousands of Trump transition emails

Special counsel now has thousands of Trump transition emails

WASHINGTON — Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian contacts with President Donald Trump’s campaign has gained access to thousands of emails sent and received by Trump officials before the start of his administration, the Associa...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

Are UFOs real? A Pentagon program tried to find out

WASHINGTON — In the $600 billion annual Defense Department budgets, the $22 million spent on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program was almost impossible to find.Which was how the Pentagon wanted it.For years, the program investigated r...
Updated: 1 hour ago
In society and in law, definition of consent is a gray area

In society and in law, definition of consent is a gray area

For two months now, as accusations of sexual misconduct have piled up against Harvey Weinstein, the disgraced mogul has responded over and over again: "Any allegations of nonconsensual sex are unequivocally denied."Consent is a concept central to law...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

Trump defends tax plan, proclaims economy set ‘to rock’

WASHINGTON — Closing in on the first major legislative achievement of his term, President Donald Trump on Saturday defended the Republican tax cut as a good deal for the middle class while boldly suggesting it could lead to explosive economic growth....
Updated: 3 hours ago
South Africa ruling party’s fight for its future kicks off

South Africa ruling party’s fight for its future kicks off

JOHANNESBURG — The fight to replace South Africa’s scandal-prone President Jacob Zuma began Saturday as thousands of delegates of the ruling African National Congress gathered to elect a new leader, with Zuma acknowledging "failures" that have threat...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

Florida moves to control booming, invasive iguanas

MIAMI — With burrowing iguanas showing up in people’s toilets and damaging expensive sewer lines, Florida wildlife managers are stepping up efforts to control the state’s booming population of the wild, invasive reptiles. The Florida Fish and Wildlif...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

Florida man sues for $2.8 million fishing tournament prize money

OCEAN CITY, Md. — Phil Heasley of Naples caught the fish of his life, but the $2.8 million in tournament prize money got away. Heasley reeled in a 6-foot white marlin last year off Maryland’s coast. But in a sign of how concerned some big money tour...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Residents flee as flames approach wealthy California enclave

MONTECITO, Calif. — Residents piled into cars and fled on Saturday, turning downtown Santa Barbara into "a ghost town" as surging winds drove one of the biggest fires in California’s history toward the city and the nearby wealthy enclave of Montecito...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Romano: Some bullies survive beyond the schoolyard

Sometime soon, members of the Florida House will be asked to consider a solution for bullying in public schools. It’s a dubious idea based on the premise that students should flee their tormenters, and use voucher funds to attend a private school of ...
Updated: 3 hours ago