Police: Thanksgiving killing spree planned - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Police: Thanksgiving killing spree planned

Manhunt is underway for Paul Michael Mehrige. Manhunt is underway for Paul Michael Mehrige.

By Peter Shaller - email
Posted by Rachel Leigh - email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - Police say the Florida man accused of shooting and killing four of his own family members Thanksgiving night planned out the killing spree beforehand. They also say he may now be in Michigan.

Update, MON 5 PM: Police in Jupiter say Paul Merhige sought the help of a doctor in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and they are extending their search there.

They say he ate with his relatives Thanksgiving Day, left, then returned and systematically opened fire on the 17-people at the dinner. Those killed were Merhige's twin sisters, an aunt and his 6-year-old cousin, Makayla Sitton, who was sleeping.

Two other people were wounded. Two of those killed will be remembered at a memorial Monday night. Police are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to Merhige's arrest.

Update: MON 10 AM: It's the holiday violent massacre that has captured the nation's attention this weekend and sickened our community. A manhunt is underway for the shooter -- a cousin invited to a Jupiter family's home for Thanksgiving.

A vigil will be held Monday night for the suspected gunman's twin sisters killed in shooting.

Carla Merhige was a real estate agent in Miami. Police say her twin sister, Lisa, was pregnant. The 33-year-old women were very loyal members of the Miami parish "Our Lady of Lebanon". The vigil will take place at that church at 7:30 p.m. Monday evening.

Memorial plans have not yet been released for the other two victims of the shooting, 76-year-old Raymonde Joseph and 6-year-old Makayla Sitton. If you would like to send flowers or cards, the Sitton family is directing people to their church, Cavalry Chapel on Ssouthwest 34th Street in Palm City.

Previously: Father Jim Sitton did everything he could to stop the shooting spree.  He was pushing people out of the house, but then his attention turned to his little daughter, Makayla, still inside sleeping in her bed. "I was coming at it a second time and heard 'pow, pow, pow, pow.'"

Those five gunshots changing this father forever. It was too late. When he got inside to check on his little girl, Sitton says, he found his daughter shot point blank five times.

At first, he didn't know what was going on. In seconds, their Thanksgiving celebration took a gruesome turn. "I'm trying to find out if my kitchen's exploding. What's exploding?" said Sitton.

As Sitton quickly pushed people out the back door, away from the shooter, he heard someone from the family yell behind him. "'Paul, Paul!' Right then, he's killing; he's shooting."

In total, six people were shot in the family shortly after 10 p.m. Thursday. Four died, including little Makayla.

The Jupiter Police Department says Paul Michael Merhige is behind it all. A cousin invited to the house that night now on the run.

They think he's driving a blue 2007 Toyota Camry with Florida tag W427JT. The Jupiter Police Department have cleared the home and turned it back over to the family.

Now, there's just memories of a little girl who played piano, sang and was a ballet dancer. 

When Sitton put his little girl to bed the night of the shooting, he kissed her never imagining this would be the last time. "I got my chance to say goodbye, God gave me that."

As the family mourns, America's Most Wanted has posted the suspect's picture on their Web site.

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