By Keturah Jones and Caitlin Piper
The Eastfield College community was in shock Thursday after learning that two siblings with ties to the college had been killed in their Mesquite home.
Alejandro Vazquez, 18, who is a first-year Eastfield student, and his sister Pauline Vazquez, 21, a UNT student who previously attended Eastfield and was home for spring break, were among the four people shot in an apparent murder-suicide Wednesday on Paintbrush Street.
The Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled late Thursday afternoon that their deaths, along with that of their father, 44-year-old Marcelo Vazquez, were homicides. Their mother, 43-year-old Angelica Vazquez, was also killed in what is being ruled as a suicide. A handgun was found near her body on the floor of the master bedroom, according to a news release issued by the Mesquite Police Department.
The four were found dead in their home Wednesday, four days after gunshots were reported by a 911 caller in the area.
“Detectives are still investigating to determine a motive for this crime,” Lt. Bill Hedgpeth said in the release.
News of the shootings slowly made its way around campus Thursday. Vice President for Organizational Development Dr. Tom Graca said administrators confirmed with Mesquite police that Alejandro was a victim in the shootings during the morning and then began relaying the news to his professors.
“I had to prepare them for the possible grief of their students when they come into their classes tomorrow,” Graca said.
One of those professors is Courtney Brazile, who taught Alejandro in his Introduction to Speech Communications class this semester and previously taught Pauline. He said he was still struggling to process the tragedy Thursday afternoon.
“If there was one student that I knew I was going to see every day, it was Alejandro,” Brazile said. “I’m really going to miss him, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart. They were both really good students with bright futures ahead of them.”
Graca said the college’s licensed professional counselor, Jeff Quan, will be available to talk to students Friday in the Counseling Services Department in C-140.