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Victims and suspect named in Meridian double murder-suicide

Police say they believe Edward Epps Jr. forced his way into the residence and shot Jose and Heidi Deleon with a handgun, killing them. The children were released safely.
Posted: 9:38 PM, Jan 07, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-07 23:41:00-05
Clean up crews removed items from inside Jose DeLeon's Meridian home Monday evening.

MERIDIAN, ID — It was a somber scene in Meridian Monday as clean-up crews removed home items involved in yesterday's blood bath. Meridian Police tell us the suspect, 39-year-old Edward Epps Jr., fatally shot two adults -- his ex-wife and her current spouse-- before turning the gun on himself.

Police say they believe Epps forced his way into the residence armed with two handguns and began firing at Jose and Heidi Deleon.

47-year-old Jose -- who owned the home-- was the first to be shot, according to police.

"Jose attempted to confront him and stop him from harming the children or his wife and received multiple gunshot wounds-- ultimately dying in the hallway of the residence," said Deputy Chief Tracy Basterrechea, Meridian Police Department.

After Heidi suffered a gunshot wound to the shoulder, she then ran to a bathroom to hide and call 911, police said.

"And he forced his way into that bathroom and shot her multiple times as well."

Meanwhile, Epps' 13-year-old daughter-- who he shared with Heidi-- escaped to a neighbor's house to call for help. But the suspect remained in the house with his 10-year-old daughter and her stepsister-- Jose's 11-year-old daughter. That's when officials from multiple agencies across the valley began negotiations.

"We used our crisis negotiators from the SWAT team and then Boise City brought their SWAT team in as well."

Thankfully, they were able to get the children out without physical harm.

"And then Epps took his own life with a gunshot wound to the head."

The motive? Well the investigation is still ongoing, but online records say Heiidi Deleon and Edward Epps-- who divorced in 2011-- had a court date regarding child support at the end of the month.

Police say the three children are now staying with other family members.

"It is really going to be very key for the families to rally around the kids and take care of those kids. They're going to need long-term counseling for sure."

If you ever find yourself in a dangerous or volatile situation, police say to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings. You can also call the Women and Children's Alliance's 24-hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (208) 343-7025.