BURLINGTON, Colo. (CBS4) – The children hurt in Tuesday night’s tragic shooting in Eastern Colorado are recovering well, according to doctors and their uncle.
The girl, 5, and a boy, 9, are being treated at a Denver hospital for knife wounds after an attack their Burlington home that also left their parents dead.
According to their uncle, 5-year-old Sarah suffered knife wounds to the neck and back and 9-year-old Ethan was slashed on the groin.
“They will recover fully. There will be no permanent damage from anything. They’ll heal well. I know the younger, the girl, is speaking to us and interacting with us,” said Wally Long, Charles Long’s older brother.
Wally and Jacob Long were escorted out a side door of the Kit Carson County Courthouse Thursday. They were meeting with a judge to discuss who would have custody of Sarah and Ethan.
A 12-year-old boy, another of the couple’s sons, is the suspect in the case and appeared before a Fort Morgan judge on Wednesday night. Prosecutors plan to charge the boy with killing his parents and wounding two of his younger siblings.
District Attorney Robert Watson said he plans to file first degree murder and other charges against the boy by the end of the day on Friday. He hasn’t decided whether he’ll try to prosecute him as an adult. Watson says he’ll take into account the wishes of the rural community of Burlington as he makes that decision.
“My experience is most home schooled children are very well socialized and I have no doubt that their family was, too. And everything I know of them, their children, I think exhibit that. Social activity was there,” said Wally.
Investigators said the boy made a call to 911 on Tuesday night saying shots had been fired inside his home at 783 Lowell and that three people had been shot.
Police arrived to find Marilyn Long, 51, and Charles Long, 50, dead and their two youngest children hurt.
Wally Long, Charles Long’s older brother, told reporters in Denver on Thursday that surviving family members have a lot of questions about what happened.
“It’s a mystery to me. I’m sure it’s a mystery to everyone. I don’t know that anybody can explain it at this point and maybe never be able to explain it,” said Wally.
“I know what some other family members might ask (my nephew). They might ask why,” Wally said. “I think my question would be ‘How are you right now? Because I don’t know what would go through someone’s mind before or after something like that. But I would be concerned for him.”
After a long day of questioning on Wednesday the 12-year-old was taken into custody and investigators said there are no other suspects. The case is now in the district attorney’s hands.
“My heart would say, well, he’s a kid and he’s my nephew and the easier route would be better. I guess justice would say what justice says,” said Wally.
On Wednesday evening friends gathered with candles outside the Long home. Neighbors told CBS4 they are shocked because the Longs appeared to be a model family and were actively involved in the church.
“They are good people, you know. They’re, as far as I know, they’re productive members of the community. I wouldn’t expect to have this happen to them,” said neighbor Josh Schlichenmayer.
“I don’t think any kid should have to go through what those kids went through,” said family friend Lloyd Rodriguez. “It surprised me knowing that they were very nice and very well respected kids. They are church goers, they’re real Christian, they go to church.”
The family’s pastor also told CBS4 the 12-year-old worked as a greeter at the church.
Marilyn and Charles Long had seven children, several whom are grown up and no longer live at the home, and Charles drove a FritoLay truck for a living. Neighbors said he would give away free chips to children in the neighborhood.
Charles also maintained a blog online called Long Health and Fitness. On it he wrote “I’m a husband and father of seven who works hard to provide for my family and stay in shape.” He was also an avid acoustic guitar player.