Xavier Lucero-Waters was an eight-year-old boy in Salt Lake City, Utah, who was described as a big kid with a “tender heart” who loved dressing as Star Wars characters and making creations out of Play-Doh. He lost his life on Tuesday in a heartbreaking and bizarre murder-suicide, killed by his own father, according to a report on KSL-TV.
While initially, the Salt Lake City police declined to release the name of the alleged killer, who also killed himself, but on Wednesday, they released the name of the boy’s father, 46-year-old Moses Waters.
According to the police, Waters used some sort of homemade firearm to first shoot his son and then himself.
— Marcos Ortiz (@tv_mortiz) July 27, 2016
“There was an incident that took place, a fight that was going on, between these individuals,” Salt Lake City Police Detective Greg Wilking told KSTU-TV News. “I don’t want to go into specifics about what the device looked like but a projectile was shot out of it and it was deadly enough to end two people’s lives.”
Police responded to an emergency call from Xavier Lucero-Waters’ mom shortly after noon on Tuesday, July 26. When they arrived, the boy and the father were dead.
The boy’s mother was apparently also in the apartment when Waters shot the boy and himself with what the investigators called the “improvised” gun. But the tragedy left neighbors shocked.
“It’s a very loving neighborhood. We’re all friends, everybody knows everybody, so it’s just a shock of what happened,” neighbor Kirk Freeman told KSTU. “Life was taken, not by his choice. It’s very heartbreaking.”
Another neighbor, Erica Newell, described Waters as a “really nice guy, he was really friendly and positive all the time.”
The following video news report from KSL-TV contains further details on the horrifying murder-suicide that took the life of Xavier Lucero-Waters.
But according to court records uncovered by KSL, Moses Waters had a disturbing history of domestic violence — as well as mental health problems and substance abuse issues.
In an earlier incident about two years ago, according to police documents revealed by KSL, Waters arrived at the apartment and announced that he intended to commit suicide.
He walked away and his wife, along with a friend, attempted to follow him in an effort to help him, but he grew angry, so they retreated to the apartment and locked him out. But Waters broke a window with a rock and got back inside, where he took his wife hostage with a knife to her throat, holding off a Salt Lake City police officer who had happened by the incident and attempted to taser Waters.
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Finally, officers were able to taser and subdue Waters, who subsequently served six months in jail, released after promising a judge that he was taking medication for his mental health problems for the first time.
But he continued to have encounters with the police.
In 2006, when married to a previous wife, Waters had also been charged with domestic violence.
Friends and neighbors held a candlelight vigil for the well-liked boy, Xavier Lucero-Waters, on Wednesday, and the boy’s family has created a GoFundMe page to help finance a funeral for Xavier.
— RickAaron (@G4URickAaron) July 28, 2016
“I’m devastated,” social worker and Xavier’s preschool teacher Ashley Hoopes, wrote in a Facebook post. “Xavier Lucero-Waters was one of my favorite kids in The Road Home shelter preschool. And on the weekends, I loved having him in my playgroup. I was always so impressed with his sweet mother, who lived and breathed for her son. He was big for his age, but he had the most tender heart.”
Police said they they are still investigating the tragedy, a slow process due to “the complexity of it,” Wilking told the Deseret News newspaper. But they said that the improvised gun used to murder Xavier Lucero-Waters used standard bullets.
[Featured Photo via In Memory of Xavier Lucero-Waters GoFundMe Page]