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October 18, 2018

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Henderson murder-suicide claims lives of 2 boys, rattles neighbor

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Ricardo Torres-Cortez

Police responding to shots fired found four people dead in a Henderson residence Sept. 20, 2018 in an apparent murder-suicide. The property on the 1100 block of Paradise Garden Drive, near U.S. 95 and Nevada State Drive, is pictured the following day.

Officers responding to reports of gunshots Thursday night in a Henderson neighborhood encountered a house in flames and the bodies of a woman, two boys and a man who is suspected of killing them.

The 27-year-old man took his own life, according to police who said the incident stemmed from a family argument. The four people each died at the scene from gunshot wounds. Officials didn't say why the home was in flames.

Investigators only said the victims were a 35-year-old woman and two boys, ages 5 and 15. Citing an open investigation, a Henderson police spokesman said further information on the relationship between the suspect and the victims would not be immediately released.

A neighbor who witnessed part of the horror and its aftermath identified the victims as mother and sons. A GoFundMe account posted by a family member named them Selina Rowsell, Aries and his younger brother, Avi.

First responders were dispatched at about 7:30 p.m. to multiple reports of gunshots in the 1100 block of Paradise Garden Drive, and arrived to find a house in flames, police said. The two-story house rests in a gated community near U.S. 95 and Nevada State Drive.

Valerie Galarza, who had returned home from work about 15 minutes earlier, heard five blasts and immediately called 911, she said Friday afternoon over the phone.

Galarza looked outside and saw the car of a man she described as an “ex” to the female victim. The vehicle was running, but that wasn’t unusual because the man — who had previously moved out — frequently picked up the young boy from the house and would leave the car on, she said.

It got quiet again and Galarza went back inside. That’s until she heard a “loud blast” and a female voice screaming, “He’s dead. He’s dead.”

By the time police arrived, she spotted smoke billowing from the house and officers with guns and shields drawn, scrambling the neighborhood, including her front and back yards.

Galarza said the bodies of the woman and the boys had been pulled outside and that she recognized them. “Just awful, awful,” she added.

Galarza, who was still upset one day later, said her grandson also would play with the boys. “You don’t realize how hard it affects witnesses,” she said.

By early Friday afternoon the yellow tape and police had disappeared. Several passing vehicles stopped in front for its occupants to take a look.

But the only indication that a tragedy had occurred hours earlier was the boarded-up house on 1146 Paradise Garden with shattered windows. Pieces of glass were visible on its front desert landscape. A trampoline, a grill and a table sat on the backyard.

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