GOODLETTSVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A heartbreaking turn of events left a Goodlettsville family of four dead Friday morning.
Metro police said 32-year-old James “Travis” Pitts shot his wife, Barbara, and two daughters before turning the gun on himself at their home on Greer Road.
Metro police said Travis told dispatchers he was experiencing mental health issues and planned to shoot himself when they arrived.
“It’s so tragic, I mean it’s sad,” Ronnie Van Kleeck who lives next to the Goodlettsville couple told News 2.
It was a horrific scene inside the home of Travis and Barbara Pitts.
“He must have just snapped,” said Van Kleeck.
That’s exactly what Metro police said Travis told dispatch when he called 911 just before 6:30 in the morning, that he “snapped,” shooting his 32-year-old wife and two daughters, 13-Year-old MaKayla Kleinert, and 6-year-old Riley Pitts.
“There were some signs that dispatchers had seen of mental health issues and this man was obviously in crisis at that point and just a really awful tragedy,” Brooke Reese with Metro Police explained.
An off-duty sergeant was first on the scene and tried to negotiate for the gunman to come out, but instead, police said Travis turned the gun on himself.
“He was experiencing some mental health issues and was obviously in a crisis internally, as to a specific reasoning at this time, no,” said Reese.
A suicide note and Glock pistol were also found inside the home.
According to the couple’s social media pages, they married in 2014. Travis’ page said he worked at the Nashville Rescue Mission as a maintenance director. Barbara’s page said she was the former volunteer coordinator at the mission.
A post from Travis’ page in 2017 talked about the hardships he had to overcome, finding God, and how he was turning his life around. The post went on to say his goal was to get all of his family under one roof. The post included a photo from the front steps of the home, that’s now a crime scene, with two additional children in the picture.
The Nashville Rescue Mission released the following statement to News 2:
“What happened is a horrific tragedy. Our hearts are broken, and our staff is shocked by this devastating event. Right now, we simply ask for prayers for this family and our staff as we grieve this tragic loss.”
A spokesman for Metro Nashville Public Schools also sent the below statement:
We are saddened by the tragic shooting death of one of our students, Riley Pitts, who attended Joelton Elementary. Our support team has been working with the school to provide grief counseling as they mourn the loss of their classmate.
Based on the information we have, the other child was homeschooled and did not attend an MNPS school.
The Tennessee Statewide Crisis Line, available 24 hours a day/365 days a year, is a resource for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis. Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471 for help.