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Father charged over children deaths

Three children were found shot dead in their beds at a suburban apartment building in Houston, Texas, and their father was charged with their murders after surviving an apparent suicide attempt.

Muhammed Goher, 47, was charged with three counts of capital murder in the Sunday morning shootings, said Harris County Sheriff's Deputy Jamie Wagner.

Goher was in stable condition at Ben Taub Hospital in Houston, where he was being treated for what investigators say was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head, Sheriff Wagner said. A sheriff's office statement said he was expected to survive.

Goher's two daughters, ages 14 and seven, and a 12-year-old son were killed in the shootings. The apartment is attached to a convenience store where Goher worked, about three miles south of Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport.

Goher is divorced from the children's mother, Norma Goher, but had court-ordered visitation rights, according to the statement.

Those rights were to be the subject of a September 27 court hearing in Houston. However, Goher received the children on Friday afternoon and was to have returned them to their mother on Sunday afternoon, authorities said.

A female baby-sitter reported seeing Goher with a handgun and fled the apartment before hearing a gunshot, according to the statement.

A neighbour, Julio Rodriguez, told the Houston Chronicle that he called emergency services after he saw a woman screaming when she left the apartment at the time of the shooting. "I heard her screaming, 'Gun! Gun! Shoot! Shoot!' I got scared because I knew there were kids in there," he said.

Muhommad Riaz, Goher's colleague at a convenience store near his apartment building, told the Chronicle that he had spoken with Goher on Saturday. He found him to be upset over the forthcoming court date and the fear of losing his visitation rights, Mr Riaz said.

Goher said "everyone was lying" about him having a violent temper, Mr Riaz told the newspaper.

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