GASTON COUNTY, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — A father and his 11-year-old son are dead while the twin sister of the boy was able to escape their burning home in a suspected murder-suicide in Gaston County early Saturday morning, according to authorities.
On Friday, October 20, the Gastonia Police Department said they went to a home in the 200 block of Brentwood Lane, near Stanley, with the Sheirff’s Office to serve an involuntary mental commitment and a domestic violence protection order to 48-year-old Russell Blakney.
Officials said additional warrants against Blakney were later issued for false imprisonment, assault by pointing a gun, and possession of a firearm by a felon.
According to authorities, negotiators tried to talk Blakney into surrendering, but he refused. During discussions, his twin 11-year-old children, Cyrus and Piper, were inside the home, and the negotiations continued overnight.
Gaston County Police said at 2:13 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, they were called to the home to assist the Gaston County Sheriff’s Office with the suspected murder-suicide.
Around 3:37 a.m., police said the house “ignited into flames.” Regional Response Team members then forced their way into the home, and both children were taken out of the residence.
According to officials, the daughter was taken to Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem for non-life-threatening injuries from the fire and remains in stable condition. Her twin brother died at the scene from injuries caused by their father, authorities said.
Blakney was found dead, officials said. Investigators believe Blakney most likely intentionally set fire to his home.
“This appears to be an isolated incident, and there is no known danger to the community,” Gaston County Police said in a statement.
Anyone with additional information is asked to call Gaston County Police at 704-866-3320 or Gaston County Crime Stoppers at 704-861-8000.