Henry Bates shot and killed his wife and young, daughter, before shooting himself after attempted two-hour negotiation with police SWAT team
Both parents and six-year-old daughter found dead in apparent murder-suicide inside family’s apt. in Portage, Michigan, around 5 pm on Tuesday
Confirmed dead were Henry Bates, 39, his wife Brianna Bates, 31 and their six-year-old daughter Zenzia Bates
The couple’s three other children aged 3, 11 and 13 lived in the home but managed to escape
A Michigan father took his wife and six-year-old daughter hostage before shooting them dead and turning the gun on himself in a murder-suicide.
Henry Bates, 39, killed his wife Brianna, 31, and their daughter Zenzia, 6, at their home in Portage, West Michigan on Tuesday night.
Officers confirmed that three other children, aged 3, 11, and 13 all managed to escape the property before the slayings.
They have all been placed with relatives after the tragedy in Kalamazoo County.
Dad kills wife and six-year-old daughter in ‘double murder-suicide’ in Portage, Michigan
Portage Department of Public Safety rushed to the scene after reports of shots being fired around 9pm.
As they responded they were made aware that it was a potential hostage situation, and tried to negotiate with Bates for nearly two-hours, but were unable to contact him.
Police say that Henry Bates, 39, shot and killed his wife and one of their four children.
A neighbor also claimed that they heard five shots in the incident. Authorities believed there were four children inside the home and a hostage, with neighbors reporting they heard five shots.
WOOD-TV reports that Bates had a history of domestic violence charges, with cases in 2004 and twice in 2022.
After failing to make contact with those inside the house, which was split into four apartments, police turned to high-tech methods to appraise the scene.
‘We were able to glean some information by use of the drone and the robot, and we made entry and unfortunately found all three deceased,’ said Portage Department of Public Safety Director Nick Armold.
*’We found an adult male. I don’t know the age. An adult female, and what we believe to be a six-year-old all dead from gunshot wounds,’
Little Zenzia, 6, was shot dead in the hostage situations. Authorities are understood to have tried to negotiate with the gunman for two hours. Three other children fled the home before the shooting started and were not injured.
The surviving children, ages 13, 11, and 3, have now been placed with relatives.
‘They all lived there, so certainly it’s clear that they were all familiar to each other with what was going on and what led up to it.’
A slew of agencies including the Portage Department of Public Safety, Western Michigan University Police, Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety, Kalamazoo Township, and multi-jurisdictional SWAT members, responded to the scene, fearing what could be a long and drawn out hostage situation.
A SWAT and Rapid Response Team were called in, using hostage negotiators to try and reach the people inside for around two hours with no response, police said.
After using a drone and robot to gather more information, the SWAT team entered the home and discovered the couple and their six-year-old child dead from gunshot wounds, Portage’s Director of Public Safety, Nick Armold said.
‘You’re wishful that everything’s going to turn out alright, but it was totally silent right when we arrived,’ said PDPS Armold.
‘We did everything we could to make sure that all the officers stayed safe, all the medical personnel stayed safe, and yet we were trying to see if we could get in there and rescue whoever was in there. Unfortunately, we were too late for them,’ he added.
The teams were on the scene for over twelve hours. Investigators are still trying to piece together a motive for the crime and the events leading up to it.
All victims were taken to the Kalamazoo County Medical Examiner’s Office for examination.