The mother who shot her four children and herself dead at her Port St. John, Fla., home on May 15 had two times the legal limit of alcohol in her system, Florida Today reports.
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For reasons unknown to family and friends, Tonya Thomas, 33, used a Taurus .38-caliber revolver to fire shots into her children Joel Johnson, 12, Jazzlyn Johnson, 13, Jaxs Johnson, 15, and Pebbles Johnson, 17, before killing herself within a 35 minute period.
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During that time, three of Thomas’ children ran to a neighbor’s house before the mother called them back home, according to police. Though, an autopsy report states that Pebbles likely passed out after returning.
Thomas was found dead on her couch from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The gun was still in her hand when cops found her.
Florida Today has more on this tragic story:
Brevard County Medical Examiner Dr. Sajid Qaiser performed the five autopsies in the two days after the killings. The children appeared healthy and had no drugs in their blood, according to the reports. He found nothing unusual or out of the ordinary during the examinations, except for Thomas’ blood alcohol level.
Goldberger said he’d heard about the Port St. John shooting, but he was not involved in investigating the incident. Based on Thomas’ height and weight, he estimated she had many drinks before the shooting.
“At the time she died, she had approximately 10 drinks in her body,” he said. One drink is about 0.03 percent BAC in a 130- or 140-pound woman, he said. Autopsy reports say Thomas weighed 197 pounds, which Goldberger said would mean one drink equal to about 0.015 percent.
He said it’s not unusual for people who commit suicide or kill others and themselves to have drugs or alcohol in their system at the time.
“It’s not unusual that they consume alcohol and or drugs to cause an intoxicated state to reduce their normal inhibitions,” he said. “This way they can act out, and often times they act out irrationally.”
Brevard County Sheriff’s Lt. Tod Goodyear told Florida Today that no one will likely ever know why Thomas killed herself and her four children.
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“Everyone understands the magnitude of it,” he said. “It’s a terrible thing when a mother takes all of her children’s lives.”
The case is officially closed.