Jan 5, 2023 - News

8 family members, including 5 children, shot and killed in Utah home

Illustration of police lights shown through the shape of a police hat.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

National and state leaders mourned the eight family members who were found shot dead in a murder-suicide inside a home in Enoch, Utah, about 3 ½ hours south of Salt Lake City.

The latest: Enoch city officials say evidence suggests 42-year-old Michael Haight shot and killed his wife, mother-in-law and five children before turning the gun on himself.

  • Haight's wife had filed for divorce about two weeks prior, public court records show.
  • The deceased children, including three girls and two boys, ranged from 4 to 17 years old. The suspect's wife, Tausha Haight, was 40 and her mother, Gail Earl, was 78.
  • Police are still investigating the case and did not say when the shootings occurred.

Background: Enoch police found the family members with gunshot wounds in a home on Wednesday after conducting a welfare check, according to a news release sent by authorities.

  • Concerned family and friends contacted authorities after not hearing from the family for days, city officials said.

What they're saying: In a joint statement Thursday, President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden said they were mourning with the Enoch community in the wake of the shooting.

  • "Less than one month after we marked 10 years since the Sandy Hook tragedy, another mass shooting has claimed the lives of five more children in Enoch," they said.
  • "Our hearts go out to all those affected by this senseless violence. Please keep the community of Enoch in your prayers," Utah Gov. Spencer Cox tweeted Wednesday night.

Details: City Manager Rob Dotson said in a video statement Wednesday that the community was stunned by the tragedy, adding that the family was prominent around town.

  • “We all know this family. Many of us have served with them in church, in the community, and gone to school with these individuals," he said. "This community at this time is hurting. They are feeling loss. They are feeling pain. They have a lot of questions."
  • "The Haights were my neighbors. The youngest children played in my yard with my sons," Enoch Mayor Geoffrey Chestnut said, per NBC News. "This is a tremendous blow to many, many families who have spent many, many nights with these individuals who are now gone."

Context: The tragedy comes nearly 16 years after the 2007 Trolley Square Mall mass shooting in Salt Lake City left six dead, including the gunman.


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