After Mohammed Goher's two daughters, ages 14 and 7, and a 12-year-old son were killed Sunday, authorities said Goher shot himself in the head in an apparent suicide attempt. He was in stable condition at Ben Taub Hospital. A Harris County Sheriff's office statement said he was expected to survive.
Goher was charged with three counts of capital murder, said Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Jamie Wagner. It was unknown whether he had an attorney.
He is divorced from the children's mother, Norma Goher, but had court-ordered visitation rights, according to the statement.
Those rights were to be the subject of a court hearing in Houston later this month. However, Goher received the children Friday afternoon and they were staying at his apartment, which is attached to a convenience store where Goher worked, about three miles south of Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.
He was to have returned them Sunday afternoon to their mother who lived in a shelter for battered women, authorities said.
The 47-year-old father had threatened to kill or hurt himself if he lost visitation, Houston attorney Syed Izfar told the Houston Chronicle. Izfar was appointed by a court to represent Goher's three children in a divorce mediation.
"By all appearances, this was a man who loved his children. What a nightmare," said Izfar, who planned to recommend standard visitation in the case. "He had it in his mind that the children would be taken away from him forever."
Izfar said he was unaware of Goher ever harming the children.
CBS Affiliate KHOU reports that, according to detectives, Goher has a history of domestic violence. They said Goher was arrested in 2006 for assaulting his-then wife.
Mazoor Memon, a newspaper publisher and host of a radio talk show called, "Is Honesty the Best Policy?", told KHOU that Goher had contacted him two weeks asking for help, claiming that someone was trying to steal his wife.
Memon said he received a call from Goher on Saturday night in which he sounded distraught. Goher was scheduled to call into his program on Sunday.
"Yesterday, when I talked to him, my wife was saying, 'Help him,'" Memon told KHOU correspondent Courtney Zubowski. "And I was saying, 'I don't know how to help him.'
On Sunday morning as the children slept, Goher got out a handgun, authorities said. Harris County Homicide Sgt. Ben Beall told the Chronicle he shot one of his girls in a bedroom and his son and other daughter who were asleep in another room. He then shot himself, Beall said.
A female baby sitter reported seeing Goher with a handgun and fled the apartment before hearing a gunshot, according to the statement. Neighbors did not return telephone messages by The Associated Press.
One neighbor, Julio Rodriguez, told the Chronicle that he dialed 911 after he saw a woman screaming when she left the apartment at the time of the shooting.
"I heard her screaming, "Gun! Gun! Shoot! Shoot!' I got scared because I knew there were kids in there," he said.
Muhommad Riaz, Goher's co-worker at the convenience store, told the Chronicle that he had spoken with Goher Saturday. He found him to be upset over the upcoming court date and the fear of losing his visitation rights, Riaz said.
Goher said "everyone was lying" about him having a violent temper, Riaz told the newspaper.