Harris County Sheriff Adrian Garcia and his investigators struggled Tuesday to find an explanation for the shooting deaths of a mother, father and their two sons in Cypress while pleading for the public's help in catching the killer.
Five days after finding the family, all shot in the head in their bedrooms, investigators said they remain baffled and implored witnesses to come forward. They also made a public plea for the killers to surrender.
The family were found about 7:30 p.m. Thursday in their home in the 14000 block of Fosters Creek Drive. The couple was last seen on Jan. 24, nearly a week earlier, Garcia said.
Investigators do not know what type of gun was used, and the caliber of bullets had not yet been determined, Garcia said.
Standing with the sheriff, Sgt. Felipe Rivera said the victims were not tied up and detectives have not determined if anything was taken.
Rivera and Garcia called the case "baffling."
"We don't have a lot of information," Rivera said.
He said investigators were suspicious about a back door that was open, but a broken window may not be connected to the shootings.
"We don't know if it's old damage," Rivera said, "that part is still under investigation."
Asked if the shooting looked like an execution-style killing, Rivera was at a loss.
"I wish I could give you an answer, but I don't know it," he said. "We're trying to figure out all the angles we possibly can."
The sheriff's office declined to give the identities of the victims, because no next of kin has been notified.
The Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District has identified the children as 9-year-old Timothy Xie Sun and 7-year-old Titus Xiao Sun. The two Sampson Elementary School students were last seen at school on Jan. 23.
Public records show that the home and the cars out front belonged to Maoye Sun, 50, and his wife, Mei Xie, 49.
Garcia said his office is working with the Chinese consulate to locate relatives.
The couple married in Harris County in 2000. A year later, they bought the house, valued at $270,000. They spoke Mandarin Chinese at home, school records show.
Around Cypress, residents said the deaths were unfortunate and unusual for the community.
"It's not what you'd expect," said Stephen DeMik, an associate pastor at St. John Lutheran Church and School. "If there were five or 10 a month then it'd be just another one. But here, it's not."
Some blamed the media for sensationalizing the deaths with repeated stories every day while others questioned why the sheriff's office had provided so little information. Most, however, said the deaths had not made them feel less safe or led to changes in daily habits.
According to his social media profiles, Sun had a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in engineering mechanics and worked as an analyst at Cameron, an oil field equipment manufacturer.
Garcia said the adults killed were naturalized Chinese immigrants who were "average residents in every way."
He said there is no apparent motive in the killings.
"It's not an everyday occurrence and obviously this is a great concern for us," Garcia said. "We want the public to rack their brains, and provide us any bit of information that they can."
All of the family members were shot at least once in the head and the Harris County medical examiner ruled all four deaths homicides on Monday.
Jayme Fraser contributed to this report.
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