A 14-year-old called 911 to report gunfire in his home Monday, then confessed he fired the gun himself to kill his father, stepmother and three siblings — including a 6-month-old infant.
The murders happened around 10:30 p.m. in the 25000 block of Ridge Road in Elkmont, according to the Limestone County Sheriff's Office. The teen called 911 about half an hour later, after disposing of the weapon that had been illegally obtained, an official said.
Limestone County sheriff's spokesman Stephen Young identified the adult victims as 38-year-old John Wayne Sisk and 35-year-old Mary Sisk, the shooter's father and stepmother. The child victims were siblings of the shooter: a 6-month-old brother, 5-year-old sister and 6-year-old brother.
Mary Sisk was a special education teacher for Huntsville City Schools and worked at Mountain Gap Middle School. John Sisk was an alumnus of Paul Mitchell the School in Huntsville who listed himself on LinkedIn as a former tech at a Huntsville car dealership and former internet sales manager at Rocket Harley-Davidson.
"It's an absolutely terrible thing," said Elkmont Mayor Tracy Compton, who lives near the home where the murders occurred. "... Our heartfelt condolences are extended to the family, the school — the whole community. It's just unimaginable."
Compton said the victims' relatives were welcome to contact his office and they would help in any way they could.
"We can't begin to understand the 'why' or 'how,'" he said. "... Anything we can do, please reach out."
Limestone County Commission Chairman Collin Daly said the case hit close to home for him, too.
"I have a son in the same class as one of the victims," Daly said. "My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. I just can't understand it."
Limestone County Schools Superintendent Tom Sisk said he was not related to the victims but had met and knew them personally. The suspect is a middle-schooler, while the older child victims were in first grade and preschool, he said.
"This is tragic," Sisk said via social media. "The schools will do our part to support the community during this difficult time."
In a statement, Limestone County Schools said the district is "deeply saddened by the tragic event" and would have additional counselors available for "as long as there is a need." Huntsville City Schools said they would have the same available for its students and staff.
In addition to prayers for the school community and extended family members, Limestone County District 3 Commissioner Jason Black asked for people to keep the first responders in their prayers.
"Be with the people of Elkmont after the losses of life they had during the night," Black said. "Think about the deputies, firefighters and EMTs who responded to the scene. Let's keep those people in our prayers."
The case so far
Young said the teen, who has not been identified due to his juvenile status, met deputies in the home's driveway after calling 911. The teen said he was in the basement of the home when he heard gunfire upstairs.
"Enough discrepancies were found in his statements that Sheriff (Mike) Blakely and investigators brought him here to the (sheriff's) office to interview him," Young said. "Upon being confronted with some of the inconsistencies, he did admit to shooting the five family members."
The teen later helped investigators find the gun he used to kill them, Young said. LCSO announced on Twitter the gun had been found around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday outside near the home.
Young said the teen is being held in a juvenile detention facility on five counts of juvenile murder. He said it was possible the teen would be charged as an adult with murder or capital murder.
Limestone County District Attorney Brian Jones said because of the teen's age, he could not comment on whether his office would try to charge the teen as an adult.