Tragedy strikes South Carolina family as former soldier kills 3 children and Army co-worker before taking his own life

A former soldier has taken his own life after shooting three children, ages 5, 6, and 11, and an Army soldier who worked with the children's mother. Charles Slacks Jr. was divorced from the mother but still had a key to the home in Sumter, South Carolina. Police are investigating the incident and have yet to determine why Slacks came to the home. The Sumter School District is mourning the loss of three students.

A South Carolina community is reeling from the tragic events of Tuesday night, when former soldier Charles Slacks Jr. shot and killed three children, his ex-wife’s co-worker, and then himself. The co-worker, an Army soldier assigned to U.S. Army Central at Shaw Air Force Base, was at the home of the children’s mother when Slacks entered the home uninvited.

The mother, whose cellphone was upstairs charging, was unable to call for help when Slacks began his shooting spree. She had tried to stop him when he shot the co-worker in the backyard, but Slacks pushed past her to go upstairs, where he shot the children while they slept in their beds.

The Sumter School District is mourning the loss of three students, including two siblings who attended Millwood Elementary School and a third who attended Alice Drive Middle School. Superintendent William Wright expressed condolences in a statement, saying, “Our hearts and prayers go out to the families, students, and staff who are affected by this tragic loss.”

State Sen. Thomas McElveen led the state Senate in a moment of silence, saying, “As a father, I am absolutely nauseated up here talking about it.” The community is left to mourn the loss of three innocent children and the Army soldier who worked with their mother.