In an image provided by the Gustine Police Department, Aubrie Branscum, 12, is shown in an undated photo.
In an image provided by the Gustine Police Department, Jacob Branscum, 10, is shown in an undated photo.
Gustine, Calif. Clergy and crisis experts from throughout Merced County were counseling the residents of a small community where police say a man apparently shot his four young children with a rifle before turning the gun on himself.
The deaths of Trevor Branscum, 38, and his children shook the city of Gustine, a community of about 5,200 people 90 miles northwest of Fresno.
According to the Gustine Police, Branscum and his wife, Amanda Trimble, were arguing at a market near their home early Tuesday morning. Police planned to review the store's surveillance tape to see what led to the fight.
Trimble told police she left with a friend after they got home and came back about an hour later to find her husband fatally shot. Her friend called police who found Trimble lying in the street, hysterical but not physically hurt, officers said.
Police discovered the bodies of Aubrie, 12, Jacob, 10, and twins Taylor and Alyssa, both 5, in the house, apparently shot while they were sleeping, said Police Sgt. Vince Inaudi.
Trimble was staying with family outside of Gustine on Wednesday. She broke down during initial police questioning but will be interviewed again, Chief Don Hutchins said.
Inaudi said she is not a suspect.
"We haven't discovered anything that leads us to believe that this is not a murder-suicide like we originally thought," Inaudi said. Police continued their investigation Wednesday.
Branscum and Trimble were married on Valentine's Day three years ago, around the same time they moved into their four-bedroom, three-story house. Branscum, who worked in construction, and Trimble, a waitress, had lived in Patterson and Walnut Grove before moving to Gustine.
"We're still trying to figure out what brought them here and how this all came about. There are a lot of little pieces to this puzzle we're still trying to fit together," Inaudi said.
Police could not find any reports of domestic violence from the couple, Inaudi said.
Neighbors said the family always seemed happy. On Monday, the father and children were in the front yard lighting fireworks, neighbors said.
Aubrie Branscum was a student at Gustine Middle School. She was on softball, soccer and cheerleading teams, Hutchins said. She and her 10-year-old brother, Jacob, were in a city summer camp that did community services such as painting, pulling weeds and planting flowers.
"I never heard any arguments from the house," said Steven Morris, 18, who lives across the street. "It's sad because the kids didn't do anything. Kids don't deserve that."
Gutless, cowardly parents who kill their own innocent flesh and blood to get back at a spouse deserve a special corner in hell.
These were beautiful children and may this coward find his special place in hell.
this is absolutley insane.
God rest their souls
What a rotten bastard.
Absolutely sickening to take away four young lives.
I have always thought the world would be a better place if those considering murder/suicide start with the suicide.
She's no innocent bystander here. SOMETHING happened to set him off and I BET it points to the both of them, their relationship and the years from child one-four, maybe even from before they were married.
Simply awful. They are with their Maker now, resting in the peace of the Lord.
The couple was married 3 years ago, the kids were all older than 3 yo. & the mother's last name is different than the kids. Is there another parent somewhere?
Flowers and toy animals are placed Wednesday, July 5, 2006, at the home where four children died. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
A pair of identical toy bears are seen at a makeshift memorial Wednesday, July 5, 2006. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Authorities said that after police were called to the Branscum home before 2 a.m., officers saw Amanda Branscum lying in the road uninjured; the father and children were found dead inside the house.
Re-reading this story, some elements to it are bizarre.
Poor kids. Heartbreaking
The two little girls are angels. What a shame. Prayers for the four murdered children. Killing your children is as sick as it gets
The following is from a person that lives in Gustine, California:
"You people are all guessing and conjecturing without knowing one shred of actual circumstances. Get a life. Your posturing and philosophizing make me sick. These are real people, usually good members of our community. Bad things happen to good people. Trevor snapped. End of story.... There is stress in all of our lives and we each deal with it differently; some in good ways, some in bad. You do not know any of the people involved. You should be ashamed."
This is info from another article.
"I just wanted to find Amanda and give her a hug," Lee said, though she found no one at the house. She said the family had appeared happy, though Trevor Branscum recently lost a construction job and had to take another at $5 less per hour in Modesto. That caused Trimble to seek a job, something Branscum never wanted, she said.
This is a sick, twisted world. There really are no words.
If he wanted to commit suicide, he could've done just that.
Buy why take these innocent children with him?