Three children were shot dead in a Monday night ambush at a New Mexico home, according to police who say their mother's ex-boyfriend was their killer.
Albuquerque police say Danny Wechsler, 45, shot the siblings — ages 5, 6 and 9 — before turning the gun on himself.
The gruesome murders took place as the mother of the slain children fought heroically to save them.
She is now in a hospital fighting for her life. Cops say she was the only witness to the crime.
"We have not been able to talk to her, so you can only imagine why we're being so cautious on the information we're releasing," Albuquerque Police Chief Gorden Eden said in a Tuesday morning briefing. "As far as we know, she's our only witness."
Eden said one child was found deceased inside the house while the other two died either at the hospital or while being transported.
According to police, Wechsler asked the mother if he could drop off Christmas gifts for her kids and was denied not long before he allegedly laid in wait before opening fire, KOB reports.
The mother and the man cops say killed the children had briefly been in a relationship, authorities say.
The names of the victims were not released at the request of family members, nor was the name of the kids' biological father.
According to police, Wechsler's neighbor, Shirley Goodwin, described him as a close friend. Shirley told police Wechsler had asked her to use her vehicle the night of the murders.
Goodwin said Wechsler told her he needed it to move a big piece of equipment he was selling. However, cops say he used it to drive to the victims' home.
"On his way out, he turned around and he looked at me and he said, 'You know I love you." And I said, "I love you too, Danny. You're like a son to me.’ That's the last we ever talked," Goodwin told KOB.
In a statement Tuesday, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez said she is "heartbroken."
"My heart and prayers go out to the family and the mother who is fighting for her life," the governor said. "We as a community have gone through tough times this year. And each time, we've rallied together in unity and in prayer. I ask New Mexicans to stand together and show that same strength they've always demonstrated in times of tragedy."