Florida Mom Murders Her Four Children, Kills Herself

Brevard County Sheriff's Office(PORT ST. JOHN, Fla.) -- A Florida mom went on a murderous rampage early Tuesday, killing her four children before turning the gun on herself.

The murders happened around 4:30 a.m. in Port St. John, Fla.  Lt. Tod Goodyear of the Brevard County Sheriff's Office identified the mother as Tonya Thomas, 33.

The children were identified as Joel Johnson, 12, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Pebbles Johnson, 17.

"This is a little bit different because they were older kids," Goodyear said.  "To kill all four, I can't remember the last time a mom killed this many of her children."

The shootings are the worst homicides to take place in Brevard County since 1987.

Goodyear says Thomas sent a text message around 3 a.m. to a male coworker saying, "Tell my mom what happened, I want to be cremated with my children."

The text is an indication that it was premeditated, Goodyear said.

"A bad part of the investigation is that we may not get the why.  Unless she left a note somewhere or told somebody, she may have taken it to the grave," he said.

According to Goodyear, a neighbor heard gun shots.  Minutes later, two of the children arrived on the neighbor's doorstep.  One of the boys -- police believe it was Joel -- was covered in blood and told the neighbor his mom had shot them.  The oldest child, Pebbles, could be seen walking back towards the family home, Goodyear said.

The children's mother came outside and lured the kids back into the house.

"She was very calm, called them in," Goodyear said.  "She didn't seem to be stressed or mad, just stepped out.  She walked out and said 'come home.'"

The neighbors say they called out to the children, begging them not to go back to the house.  They then called police, who heard gunshots upon arrival.

"We set up a perimeter, found the oldest girl lying in the yard and took her out to an ambulance," Goodyear said.

EMTs pronounced Pebbles dead in the ambulance and a SWAT team was called for further investigation.  Officers found the other three kids and Thomas all dead in the back of the house.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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