Angel statuettes made by neighbors stand outside an Albuquerque home Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, where police say a gunman fatally shot three kids and a lap of their mother before using the gun on himself. Authorities said George Daniel Wechsler, 45, shot and killed the three children on Monday evening as their mother frantically tried to protect them. Wechsle was an Albuquerque native and the brother of one of the stars of ABC’s “Revenge” tv series. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
Candles and stuffed animals left by neighbors rest outside of an Albuquerque, N. M., home Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, after a deadly shooting. Authorities said George Daniel Wechsler, shot and killed the three children on Monday evening as their mother frantically tried to protect them. Wechsle was an Albuquerque native and the brother of one of the stars of ABC’s “Revenge” tv series. (AP Photo/Russell Contreras)
ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. – Three days after a deadly shooting rocked New Mexico’s largest city, the police finally found the names Thursday of three children who died in their Albuquerque home as their mother fought to protect them.
Investigators said 5-year-old Elijah Mascarenas, a 6-year-old Olivia Mascarenas, and the 9-year-old Ian Mascarenas died on Monday shortly after the mother’s ex-boyfriend unloaded on the family.
That ex-friend, George Daniel Wechsler, 45, later turned the gun on himself.
Authorities said Wechsler briefly dated the 36-year-old mother, Cheryl Mascarenas, who was wounded in the shooting. Mascarenas is listed in critical but stable condition.
“The evidence shows the mother fought valiantly to try to save her children and get them out of the house,” Albuquerque police spokeswoman Celina Espinoza said.
The police said Cheryl Mascarenas recently broke up with Wechsler and asked him to stop calling. A few days before the shooting, the police says Wechsler sought to bring the children christmas gifts.
It is unclear how long the couple dated before they broke up.
Last month, Wechsler was also transported to the hospital and underwent a mental evaluation after threatening to commit suicide, police said. It was not known if that was the case, connected with the mother of the question to let rest.
But Wechsler has a history of stalking and harassment.
According to court records, Wechsler pleaded no contest in 2003 to felony stalking and small crime attack against a member of the family. He was also arrested in 2004 for reckless driving, but police say he had no felony record.
Since the shooting Monday, Albuquerque police had refused until Thursday to release the names of the victims, despite requests from the national media.
Media in Albuquerque, has up to now been honored Albuquerque police request to deny the names of the mother and the children.
“The Albuquerque Police know the family of the Stagecoach shoot and we as a community can (not) understand this unimaginable tragedy,” police said in a statement Wednesday.
In a statement, Mascarenas and her ex-husband, Joshua, thank you Albuquerque police and other agencies for the provision of support after the shooting.
“As parents, we put our children before anything else in this world,” said the couple in a statement. “Although separated, we have always been a family, the upbringing of our children and actively involved in the daily activities of all three children.”
The former couple then asked for privacy and asked that the images of their children not be released.
The Facebook pages of both parents are full of pictures with her three children.
Neighbors and friends have placed angel figurines and stuffed animals outside the Albuquerque house.
Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter http://twitter.com/russcontreras. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/russell-contreras.