A grieving father, family members and friends came together Saturday to remember Taylor and Madison Sheats, two young women shot to death by their mother last month in Fort Bend County, Texas.
According to WHNT, a memorial service was held at Shelton Funeral Home in Decatur, Alabama, near where the sisters' parents, Jason and Christy Sheats, grew up. Taylor, 22, and Madison, 17, were buried at Limestone Memorial Gardens in nearby Athens.
At the funeral, Jason Sheats delivered a touching eulogy, telling the crowd that one of the family's rules was to always say "I love you" before leaving the house, said Jason Hood, a former classmate of the girls' father.
“If they didn’t say it, they had to walk back inside the house to say, 'I love you,'" Hood told WHNT. "And that means a whole lot to me."
Another former classmate of Jason Sheats, Marsha Hill, told WAFF, "“He said, ‘If you have loved ones, tell them you love them every day and give them a hug because you never know it might be your last day.’ He said one thing with his children he knows he has peace with, is that he loved his kids. His kids knew that he loved him, and his kids loved him. And he showed them and kissed them and loved him every day. That shows a lot."
According to KPRC, Christy Sheats, 42, called a "family meeting" June 24 at her home near Houston, then pulled out a .38-caliber handgun and opened fire on Taylor and Madison. As the daughters and their father fled from the home, Madison collapsed, KPRC reported. Meanwhile, Christy Sheats chased Taylor into the street, shot her, then went back into the home, reloaded the gun and shot Taylor again, authorities said.
When Christy Sheats walked toward one of the daughters, a Fulshear police officer fired a single shot, killing her, according to Fort Bend County Sheriff Troy Nehls.
Both daughters died. Jason Sheats, 45, was not injured. It was his birthday.
Jason Sheats told investigators that his wife attempted suicide multiple times and had a documented history of mental illness. He thought she had planned to talk about a decision on whether or not to file for divorce when she called the family meeting, according to the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office.
"She wanted him to suffer," Sheriff Troy Nehls said in a news conference Wednesday.
Jason Sheats told deputies his wife suffered from depression and anxiety. She was taking several medications to cope with both and had been treated at three private mental health facilities in the last four years.
The couple had discussed divorce. A neighbor told KTRK the couple recently got back together after a separation.
Nehls said authorities responded to the Sheats' family home 12 times between 2012 and June 2016.
Three times they were called due to suicide attempts by Christy Sheats. Once she called 911 to speak with a deputy. One time an argument brought officers to the home. On another occasion, the Sheriff's Office's Crisis Intervention Team called for authorities.
The remaining calls were false alarms or medical related, Nehls said.
Jason Sheats told deputies she inherited the gun used in the shooting from her grandfather. She had applied for a permit to carrying a handgun but was denied.
Deputies are still working to determine why the application was denied.