FOX44 has spoken with neighbors living near Lamar Middle School in Temple, who describe the minutes of horror during the fatal shooting on Thursday.
Suanne Vermaelen says she and her grandmother were already up early in the morning when they heard the gunshots.
She says, “About 13 shots ring out right next to the kitchen. So I ran outside to grab my dog. It was a series of five, a pause, then five, pause, than a series of 13, a series of 3. Sorry.”
Temple Police say Matthew Splittgerber shot Shelly Splittgerber and her mother Sherry Gray, as well as Shelly’s son Corden before taking his own life.
Vermaelen says, “I was scared for everyone’s safety because I never experienced something like this. So I would not know what was going on and what to do. There was a guy in front of us with a shield, and the guy behind us and they walked us by the hedge over there across the road and towards the school.”
Corden survived, and now fights for his life at the hospital. Vermaelen says he just recently had a birthday party. She is heartbroken for the child.
She says, “I lost my mother when I was in the 7th grade. So I know how that feels to lose someone very close to you, and it is very hard to get over.”
The Temple teen explains these tragedies are becoming too common. She says, “Sure it is sad when it happens, but it is really bad when people start getting used to it.”
Shelly Splittgerber taught at the Belton ISD. This is the statement from superintendent Dr. Susan Kincannon:
“Belton ISD is deeply saddened by the death of elementary teacher Shelly Splittgerber. While new to the District and the Miller Heights campus, in her short few months with us she had already demonstrated skill, integrity, and a strong love for children – qualities that are highly desired and admired in a teacher. She went above and beyond to care for her students, and most recently delivered a Christmas tree and ornaments to a Miller Heights family.
The Miller Heights school community will be deeply impacted by the loss of their teacher, friend, and colleague. Counseling support will be provided to assist students and staff as needed as they grieve the loss of this special teacher.”
FOX44 also found out Shelly Splittgerber filed a protective order against her husband. These documents offer a deeper look into the temple gunman’s relationships with his wife and her family and their plea for help.
According to the Bell County District Clerk’s Office, Splittgerber filed a request for a protective order against Matthew Splittgerber just a few days ago.
In fact, the clerk says she remembers her and her mother coming in together.
Shelly claimed Matthew Splittgerber harassed, stalked her and followed her son to find out where they lived. She stated fearing for her and her son’s safety and demanded help for his mental issues.