- The Washington Times - Sunday, September 6, 2009

UPDATED:

HOLDEN, La. — A man shot his estranged wife, son and 2-year-old grandson to death and seriously wounded his pregnant daughter-in-law Saturday at their rural Louisiana home, then killed himself as police tried to pull over his car 20 minutes later, authorities said.

The pregnant woman later gave birth, about three months early, her father said.

The shootings appeared to stem from an ongoing dispute between 50-year-old Dennis Carter Sr. and his wife, Donna Carter, who had a restraining order against him, said Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office Chief of Operations Perry Rushing.

Another 16-month-old boy was in the house during the shootings but was not hurt. The child was related to the Carters, but Chief Rushing was not sure how.

Authorities were called to the home in Holden, about 30 miles east of Baton Rouge, around 10:30 p.m. Saturday. Donna Carter, 49, and Dennis Carter Jr., 26, were dead inside. Dennis Carter Jr.’s wife, Amber Carter, was badly hurt, and their son, Mason Carter, 2, was found dead outside.

Chief Rushing said it appeared Amber Carter, who was about six months pregnant, and Mason Carter managed to escape out a second-floor window, but it was not clear if the gunman shot them inside or followed them outside and shot them there.

Chief Rushing said deputies spotted Dennis Carter Sr. driving on a highway about 20 minutes after the shootings. When they tried to pull him over, he shot and killed himself.

“It’s very unusual to have this many victims,” Chief Rushing said. “This is an anomaly by any stretch of the imagination.”

All of the Carters lived at the house in Holden except Dennis Carter Sr., who used to live there but more recently had been residing in nearby Hammond.

Paul Williamson, the father of Amber Carter, said the senior Mr. Carter was a semiemployed mechanic with a history of abusing his estranged wife and recently tried to attack her with a machete.

“This had been going on for quite some time,” Mr. Williamson said. “It was one of those domestic violence things that just gets worse and worse.”

Mr. Williamson said his pregnant daughter had bullet wounds to the kidney and liver and spinal damage caused by her leap from a second-story window.

After the shootings, she gave birth to a healthy baby named Aubrey, Mr. Williamson said. He said she initially was taken to a Baton Rouge hospital and later was transferred to a hospital in New Orleans.

Chief Rushing said that state police ballistics experts were conducting tests on a gun found in the senior Mr. Carter’s car to make sure that he was the gunman.

“All evidence seems to indicate that,” Chief Rushing said, “but we want to cross our t’s and dot our i’s to make sure that’s right.”

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