Man kills self after fatally shooting estranged wife at Katy school
Updated On: Sep 13 2013 05:55:04 PM CDT
The man police said shot his estranged wife on the campus of Katy ISD's Obra D. Tompkins High School was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside his Brookshire home.
The Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office said the initial shooting occurred happened around 6 a.m. Friday in the parking lot at Obra D. Tompkins High School.
Police said the shooter gunned down his estranged wife, 46-year-old Valerie Robinson.
Robinson, who worked in the school's cafeteria, was found with gunshot wounds behind the school near the practice fields.
Officials said two coaches performed CPR on her until emergency crews arrived.
A spokesperson with Katy ISD said Robinson was transported to Katy Memorial Hermann Hospital, but later died.
Witnesses told police they saw a man with a shotgun get into a truck and drive off.
Police said the suspect barricaded himself in his Brookshire home. Authorities surrounded the home for nearly three hours and after attempts at negotiating failed, a search warrant was obtained.
SWAT officers moved in at around 10:30 a.m. found the suspect, 55-year-old Gregory Robinson, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound inside the home.
Family and friends said they are overwhelmed with shock and grief.
"She was a very beautiful person she didn't deserve what happened to her today," said Janice Floyd.
Valerie Robinson was affectionately known as 'Peaches' and adored by everyone who knew her, friends said.
"She would help anybody and anytime," said her sister, Veranda House. "She was always there when people needed her. To us she was the life of the party. You couldn't ask for a better person."
The family said the estranged couple had been married for 28 years. They had one daughter together and Gregory Robinson had two sons.
Katy ISD officials said Tompkins High, the district's newest high school in only its third week, is open and secure.
"What we want parents to know is that the students are safe, we are in session," said Katy ISD PIO Steve Stanford. "This is a domestic violence issue. There was no threat towards anybody else besides this cafeteria worker."
Since the incident happened before school started, the school was never put on lockdown. Students arrived for class as scheduled and school officials said there was never a security breech.
"We understand that parents are concerned about safety," said Stanford. "We are a safe campus right now, but we also want the parents to know that if they want to pick up their child, they can certainly do so and take them home if they feel they need to do that."
The district said about 120 students were pulled out of class for the day.
Katy ISD released the following statement:
"The estranged husband of a cafeteria worker shot his wife in the back parking lot of Obra D. Tompkins High School before 6:11 a.m. this morning. Unfortunately, we have just learned that the shooting was fatal. School has started as usual this morning and the campus is not on lockdown. Parents are allowed to pick up their student if they feel they need to. Currently, Katy ISD Police Department is working with the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Department and the suspect is barricaded at his home in Brookshire."
"It worries me a little bit because you always hope your children are going to be safe at school, you never expect anything to happen at school," said parent Angela Schmidt.
"I have confidence in the staff that they're doing everything they can to keep the students safe. It's just too close to home," said parent Melissa Choate.
She pulled her child out of school after hearing about the shooting.
Local 2's Gianna Caserta spoke with a mother who said her daughter is on the cross country team and was coming back from her run when they heard a gunshot. The students hid inside the locker room for several minutes. The student texted her parents and told them that there was a shooting on campus. The student athletes stayed in that locker room until it was safe to come out.
Parents dropping their children off couldn't believe something like this could happen at their children's school.
"At least I was relieved to know the guy left and isn't on campus, a little bit of relief, but still sadness and disappointment of why these things happen," said parent Tory Roberts.
A Katy ISD spokesperson acknowledged that an alert to parents wasn't released as quickly as the district intended. Steve Stanford said the district intended to send an alert to parents before school began but a default setting on the notification system prevented the message from being sent in a timely manner.
"We apologize to the parents that they did not receive that first message. We understand the importance and the urgency of getting these types of notifications," said Stanford.
Stanford said the district will be changing those default settings to make sure another delay doesn't happen in the future.
Katy ISD said they brought in additional help from around the district to serve lunch at the school. The district said one cafeteria worker met with a counselor and then left for the day. The other stayed but worked on food preparation.