Police say distraught woman fatally shot her two children and herself

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

JENNINGS, Mo. -- Police in the St. Louis suburb of Jennings, Mo., are investigating a triple shooting on New Year's Eve in which they say a 30-year-old mother fatally shot her two young daughters and then herself.

The shooting happened about 6:15 p.m. Monday on a street where police said Larhonda Mason had walked with her children after a disagreement with a man.

Mason and the man -- identified only as a male acquaintance -- apparently argued at a home not far from where the shooting took place, police said. Mason left the residence on foot after their disagreement and took her two daughters and some belongings with her.

Police said the man followed the woman and her children in a vehicle and tried to get them to return to the home. They said the man and Mason exchanged words on the street, and then the woman pulled out a gun and shot the girls and herself.

The children each died of a single gunshot wound, Sgt. Shawn Lane said.

Police identified the children as 11-year-old Teleanna Mason, who was pronounced dead at the scene, and 3-year-old Jazelyn Mason, who died at a St. Louis hospital about two hours later.

Larhonda Mason also was pronounced dead at the scene. A suicide note detailing the woman's intentions was recovered, police said. But investigators are not releasing the note's contents.

Lane said Mason had been distraught for the past several days.

The man who argued with Mason is not being charged, police said. The man sought help for the victims after the shooting, and officers interviewed him about the incident and initially thought he was responsible. But then the investigation pointed to Mason.

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