An 8-year-old girl thanked police officers for saving her from a brutal attack that left her mother and baby sister dead.
Mark Leo Gregory Gago, 42, killed four with an ax inside of a house in Clackamas County, Oregon, on Jan. 19, authorities said.
Among the dead was his daughter Olivia Lynn Rose Gago, 9 months old, and girlfriend Shaina Sweitzer, 31.
Hailey, Sweitzer’s 8-year-old daughter, said that police officers saved her life.
She said that Gago, speaking in riddles, had his hands on her neck. Deputies who responded to the house found them in a room.
“Then when they came in my room. He yelled, ‘No!’” Hailey told KPTV. Police officers then shot him.
“Deputies used deadly force on Gago, saving the girl’s life,” according to the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office.
“Police officers, if you’re watching this, thank you,” said Hailey.
Hailey is now with her father Jason Grimm. She said that her deceased mom “was the best mommy ever” and that she draws strength from her.
“I think I’m strong because of my mommy as an angel in heaven. I think she’s gonna be my angel,” Hailey said. “I miss my mommy and Olivia a lot. And the last time I saw my mommy is when she said ‘I love you.’”
— FOX 12 Oregon KPTV (@fox12oregon) January 21, 2019
Besides Sweitzer and his young daughter, Gago also killed his mother, 64-year-old Pamela Denise Bremer, and his stepfather, 66-year-old Jerry William Bremer, authorities said.
Family members told The Oregonian that Gago had turned violent in recent weeks and that he and Sweitzer planned to move from his parents’ house but that Sweitzer recently revealed to Grimm that Gago had tried to strangle her and was becoming abusive.
Officials struggled to process the crime scene, which was described as shocking.
“As a rational human being, I can’t wrap my head around it at all,” said Sgt. Brian Jensen, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, of a possible motive. “I truly have no idea. I wouldn’t want to speculate.”
Grimm said that his ex-girlfriend, Sweitzer, began making posts on Facebook in the weeks leading up to the murders that in retrospect feel ominous. “I am a strong person but every now and then I also need someone to take my hand & say everything will be alright,” she said in one.
Investigators remain on scene of horrific quadruple murder on S Barlow Rd. Deputies saved the life of a young girl by using deadly force on the murder suspect as he was attempting to kill her. All deputies were uninjured, suspect is deceased. pic.twitter.com/dzVXp5ADzm
— Clackamas Sheriff (@ClackCoSheriff) January 20, 2019
The next day, Gago took to the social media website to say that he had gotten a new job and that he and Sweitzer would move into their own house.
Besides Hailey, Tracy Burbank, a friend of the Bremer’s, also survived the attack. A neighbor told KATU that Burbank wrestled an “ax-type” weapon away from Gago.
“It sounded like she was asleep in her bed and he woke her up by attacking her,” the neighbor said, remembering what the victim told him. “I’m sure it’ll be a few days until she realizes how lucky she was to get out.”
Court records show that Gago had been arrested twice before for assault, in 2001 and 2005. Both cases were dismissed.
Gago was divorced and had failed to pay child support, leading to multiple hearings in the last two years.