Police are investigating the shooting deaths of four adult relatives inside a Northland home as a murder-suicide.
A 14-year-old girl — the shooting's sole survivor — called them Sunday night, around 9:15 p.m., to alert them of the shooting in the Thousand Oaks neighborhood outside Parkville.
Platte County Sheriff Mark Owen identified the shooter, who committed suicide, as Douglas Pauling, 50.
Police think he killed his mother, Sharmalee Pauling, 73; her husband, Carl Deruyscher, 66; and the teen's mother, Margaret Girard, 49.
The girl, who is in protective custody until family arrives from out of the state, was Douglas Pauling and Girard's daughter. She came to the house with her mother for dinner, Owen said.
When she called police, she was unsure where she was, said Capt. Jeffery Shanks, spokesman for the Platte County Sheriff's Office.
Dispatchers were able to tell she was in the 14000 block of Northwest 63rd Street in the Thousand Oaks subdivision.
"Initially she wasn't sure of the exact address of where she was," Shanks said. "She indicated there was a party armed with possibly a rifle."
As dispatchers worked to figure out where the girl was calling from, they gathered some details about what had happened inside the house.
"(Inaudible) … has a gun and he has shot somebody," a dispatcher said, according to audio captured by Broadcastify.com. "Are there units I can start to that area?"
Seconds later an officer responded, "One-twenty-six … will be en route."
The dispatcher continued, "Showing units en route. Again, she's not giving us an address but her father had a gun and he shot, I believe, the grandmother and shot at her … She was not giving us an address. We're trying to get her back on the line."
Another officer spoke up: "One-twenty-seven, show me en route as well."
"She was not responding," the dispatcher said. "She would not give us the street. She forgot the address. She's very shaken up."
Minutes later, the dispatcher passed along more information from the female caller.
"Information the (reporting party) advised that he has brown hair that's very short and has a scruffy face, he's wearing glasses, a T-shirt and cargo shorts … says the parties that have been shot are going to be in the dining room.
"She got out of the house. When she left, the father and everyone else were still in the residence, between the kitchen and the dining room, is what she's telling her partner right now."
The Platte County Sheriff's Office set up a perimeter, assuming an active shooter was in the area, Shanks said.
The sheriff's office called in its SWAT team. Members of the Missouri Highway Patrol and Parkville police responded to the area. The South Platte Fire Department and AMR ambulance staged in the area.
"Once the perimeter was secured, there was a decision made to make a tactical entry into the house with the SWAT team," Shanks said. "Once the SWAT team did enter and clear the house, what they did discover was that there was four deceased parties inside the residence."
All of the dead were middle-aged or older. Authorities have not identified them but think they were all related, according to the sheriff's office.
The residence was secured and a search warrant was sought so that investigators could collect evidence.
Investigators were questioning the girl who initially called about the shooting as a witness. She was not considered a suspect, Shanks said.
Chuck Stockman, who lives nearby, said whatever happened was very quiet. He said he didn’t hear anything.
As a retired police officer, he thinks he’d recognize the sound of gunfire.
At around 10 pm, he went to let his dog out and turned on his outdoor flood lights.
When he went outside, he was surprised to see “police cars everywhere with no lights on.”
Officers were donning vests and had blocked off the area.
Stockman saw the sheriff and asked if everything was all right.
“Nope,” the Sheriff responded. “No it’s not.”
Seeing the deputies setting up a perimeter and taking defensive positions, Stockman asked if they wanted him to turn out the flood lights so they didn’t shine on them.
The sheriff said yes.
After turning out the lights, Stockman sat on his front steps watching, but nothing else happened so he went inside at 11:30 pm.
He was surprised to see police were still there in the morning.
“This is a really quiet neighborhood,” said Stockman, who has lived there 13 years.
The neighbors are friendly and get along with each other.
“It’s common for someone to set up a fire pit in the winter and invite others to come drink wine and watch the fire burn,” he said.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.