ROY — The shooting that took the life of Sheila Pruitt’s daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren is beyond all rational explanation, she says, and Tuesday she wasn’t interested in answers that would do nothing to bring them back.
“I haven’t spoken with police today,” Pruitt said at a candlelight vigil held for the family of four that died Sunday. “The Roy Police Department has done an amazing job and done everything they can do. Now it’s the family’s time to grieve and be with each other.”
Police believe Russell Smith, 29, shot and killed his 26-year-old wife, Shawna, and the couple’s two children, 6-year-old Tylee and 2-year-old Blake, before turning the gun on himself Sunday inside their Roy home.
Neighbors said the Smiths were a happy family who showed no signs of problems. Roy police called the family “very quiet” and said they had never been called to the home.
At the vigil in front of the Smiths' home Tuesday, more than 100 family, friends and well-wishers grappled with raw unbelief in the aftermath of the shooting.
“I think everybody’s still in shock. It’s a hard pill to swallow,” said McKenzie Weaver, who was friends with both Russell and Shawna Smith since junior high.
Weaver called Tylee and Blake “the cutest things” and said she hoped the vigil would be used for those who loved the family to share good memories. Vigil-goers lit candles, released balloons, signed posters and laid flowers while family members embraced and cried.
“(The vigil) is just to show my daughter, son-in-law and grandbabies they they’re loved. This is for them,” Pruitt said.
Roy police did not provide updates to their investigation Tuesday, and it remains unclear whether a note was found, where in the home the shooting occurred and whether there were any signs of a struggle.
For Pruitt, those details pale in importance to the sudden absence of her daughter and her family.
“At this point, it doesn’t matter,” she said with a tone of resignation.
Pruitt said her son last spoke with his sister about 1 p.m. Sunday and was the one to walk in and find the family dead in their home about 10 p.m. Aside from that, she said, she has no inkling of what time the shooting may have occurred that day or what may have caused things to take a turn for the worse.
For Karly Dye, Shawna Smith’s friend from their seven years together at the Busy Bee Playhouse daycare in Roy, the tragedy is still hard to comprehend.
Dye said young Tylee was excitable, and baby Blake was a sweet “mama’s boy.” Shawna was known for her “jokester” sense of humor at work, Dye said, and it was clear from their friendship outside of the daycare that Russell “was an amazing dad.”
“All of them were very happy. They all loved each other,” Dye said. “Their kids were their world. No one would have imagined this happening.”