A Missouri man allegedly opened fire on his girlfriend and three children — killing her and her 6-year-old daughter — because their apartment was messy, according to relatives and police.
Joseph Jones, 40, was charged Sunday with two counts of first-degree murder in the Saturday shooting deaths of Bernadetta Cooper, 40, and Doryan Bryant, 6, at the Shannon Fox Apartments in Jennings, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Jones also allegedly shot Cooper’s 10- and 16-year-old daughters, who suffered a graze wound and a bullet to the shoulder, respectively, but survived the attack, police said.
Cooper’s father, William Wayne, and other relatives told KSDK the fatal confrontation started early Saturday when Jones — who was the woman’s boyfriend of eight months and lived with the family — got upset that the residence was a wreck.
Relatives told the station they believe Jones, who police said used a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a .40-caliber semi-automatic in the slayings, killed Cooper first, then took aim at the woman’s children.
Wayne said one of Cooper’s daughters fought back during the onslaught and potentially saved the life of one of her sisters, saying the girl had “that same spirit” as her mother, who was also known as Chastity, KSDK reported.
“Chastity was a fighter,” Wayne said.
Wayne said he believes Cooper was suffering from mental illness at the time of the quadruple shooting. He smoked a cigarette on a living room couch after the deadly gunfire, Wayne and other relatives told the station.
“He was sick at the time,” Wayne told KSDK. “He was insane. He was possessed by the devil to do something like that. Who can take a baby’s life?”
Wayne said he was heartbroken over the loss of his granddaughter, whom he affectionately referred to as Pig, the station reports.
“Pig, she was a wonderful child,” Wayne said. “She was innocent. That’s the angriest I am with him because he took my Pig away from me. Pig was so sweet.”
Police believe Cooper’s 10-year-old daughter called cops after the shooting, according to KMOV.
One of Cooper’s daughters, meanwhile, underwent surgery Sunday, KSDK reported.
Jones was convicted of possessing a firearm during a drug trafficking offense in 1999. He also pleaded guilty in January 2019 to being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Post-Dispatch.
Jones, who was also charged with first-degree assault, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm, was ordered held by a judge on $1 million cash-only bail, the newspaper reported.
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