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'Paralyzed with grief': Suspect charged after man, 5 children slain in Muskogee home

'Paralyzed with grief': Suspect charged after man, 5 children slain in Muskogee home

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Update (12:30 p.m.): District Attorney Orvil Loge has filed charges against Jarron Pridgeon. He faces six counts of first-degree murder, one count of shooting with intent to kill and one count of possession of a firearm after a felony conviction.

A press conference is set for 3:30 p.m. with Loge and Muskogee Police, according to the District Attorney's Office. 

Update (8:30 a.m.): Muskogee Mayor Marlon Coleman said in a statement Tuesday night he was proclaiming Wednesday, Feb. 3, as a "Dedicated Time of Prayer or Meditation" in response to the murders.

He said a candlelight vigil at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, at the Gazebo in front of the Muskogee Civic Center, will bring the community together to pray for the victims' families.

The story below published in Wednesday's Tulsa World:

MUSKOGEE — The slayings of five children and an adult early Tuesday have left the city of Muskogee in shock.

A 1:30 a.m. report that shots had been fired drew police officers to a house in the 900 block of Indiana Street, where they saw an armed man. An officer shot at but missed the man, police said, and the man fled on foot.

After a short pursuit, officers apprehended 25-year-old Jarron Deajon Pridgeon.

Four children and a man — Pridgeon’s brother — were found dead in the home, and the children’s mother and another child inside were injured. All had been shot. Three more children in the home were not injured.

The injured woman and child were taken by helicopter to a Tulsa hospital, where the child was pronounced dead and the woman — the mother of the children — was stable, police said.

The deceased children and man were identified as Jalaiya Pridgeon, 1; Jaidus Pridgeon, 3; Harmony Anderson, 5; Neveah Pridgeon, 6; Que’dynce Anderson, 9, and Javarion Lee, 24.

Lee is the suspect’s brother, police said.

Muskogee Police Department spokeswoman Lynn Hamlin said this is a shock and “great deal of sadness” for the Muskogee community. She said that in the 16 years she has been with the department, she has never seen anything like this.

“Today’s tragedy struck our community the likes of which we have not seen in decades,” Mayor Marlon Coleman said in a statement. “Many of us went to bed resting in anticipation of tomorrow’s hopes, only to have awakened to know that five babies with unlimited potential are no longer with us; their lives taken prematurely, their families grappling with a new horror, and our community paralyzed with grief.”

Coleman asked those in the community to care for one another and to pray for the families of those involved.

In a statement early Tuesday afternoon, Muskogee Public Schools officials said a Creek Elementary student had died overnight and that counselors would be made available through the district.

“We are saddened by this tragic loss and our deepest sympathies go out to all of those impacted,” Superintendent Jarod Mendenhall said in a news release. “No words can adequately express our sadness in losing these students, and our thoughts and prayers are with this family.”

All of the victims lived in the home along with Jarron Pridgeon, Hamlin said.

This was the second domestic mass homicide in the Tulsa area within roughly half a week.

Late Friday or early Saturday, Phillip Daniel Stephen Ross, 31, killed Anastacia “Staci” Lynn Smith, 41, and their children, River Gale Ross, 4, and Piper Ann Ross, 2, before killing himself in their Sand Springs home, police there said.

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