Family mourns 2 children shot by father

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SWANTON, Ohio (AP) – The grandfather of two young children shot to death by their father said Sunday the family was struggling to cope with the violent loss.

“Those two kids were A-number one,” said Jim Staczek, whose daughter was stabbed during Saturday’s attack. “They were smart as a whip, both very good children.”

Autopsy reports said the young brother and sister were shot three times each before their father, Clarence Saunders, 58, fired one bullet into his head during a brief standoff with police at their northwestern Ohio home.

Fulton County Coroner Harry Murtiff said 10-year-old Lauren was shot in the chest, abdomen and back, and 5-year-old Jacob was shot in the heart, left cheek and right flank.

The children’s mother, Patricia Saunders, who told authorities she was stabbed by her husband before the standoff, was recovering at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, her father said.

She is “doing well, and we expect a full recovery,” Staczek said.

Clarence Saunders called 911 around 7 a.m. and reported that his wife was bleeding from a cut to the abdomen, authorities said.

“What did she cut herself on, sir?” the dispatcher asked, according to a tape of the 911 call.

“I don’t know. I’m just, I’m just frantic, and she is too,” Saunders replied.

Patricia Saunders told medical personnel her husband had stabbed her, and they summoned sheriff’s deputies to the house near Swanton, about 30 miles west of Toledo.

Deputy Rick Brock, who entered the home after learning children were inside, was shot twice in the shoulder, the sheriff’s office said.

After several calls to the home went unanswered, officers entered the home and found the three bodies, authorities said.

Hospital officials would not release the deputy’s condition on Sunday and the sheriff’s office did not know.

Clarence Saunders had worked as a contract employee in the University of Findlay’s environmental and emergency management school, spokesman Suzanne English said. Neighbors said he taught at several colleges.

Patricia Saunders is president of Alternative Management, an employment agency and personnel and safety consulting company based in Swanton.

Staczek declined to comment on marital problems that his daughter may have been having with Saunders. “Everybody has problems,” he said.


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