The children lived with their mother in the 4900 block of North Marine in Uptown, longtime neighbor Brenda Adams said. The couple had joint custody of the children, who would visit their father every other weekend.
Police said his estranged wife became concerned when the nanny couldn’t get into the apartment, according to news station WBBM.
Sanders’ body was discovered around 11 a.m. in the hallway of the home. The twins, Mason and Addison Sanders, were found dead from gunshot wounds to the back of their heads.Their deaths were ruled homicides following autopsies Tuesday. No motive for the murder-suicide has been released.
“Our condolences go out to the family affected by the senseless murder-suicide at 6200 N. Richmond,” Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeted.
“A father, cowardly took the life of his two 10 year old children before turning the gun on himself. The offender had no previous history with the Chicago Police Department.” he added.
Leslie Lawrence, who lives in the unit directly below where the shooting occurred, was awakened at 5:15 a.m. by three loud shots. He said there was a long pause between each shot.
He said he thinks the weapon was larger than a handgun, as he was able to feel the vibration from each shot while he was on his top bunk.
As someone who struggles with depression himself, Lawrence said he could see signs of depression in Sanders.
“I saw it in his face and his tone, so, me being friendly, I’d try to give him a couple of words, crack a joke,” Lawrence said.
However, Lawrence said he never expected Sanders to do anything like this. He said Sanders was protective of his children, even once yelling at Lawrence’s grandmother to quiet down so his daughter could sleep. He said he’d often see the family playing ball in the back.
Another neighbor, Iulia Oarca, had kind words to say about Sanders. A nanny, she was impressed that he took the time to play with his kids, and she said that he was well-mannered and considerate with neighbors.
Oarca was “shocked” that the same person who made sure she had enough room to park her car killed his children, and that it happened in her building.
“I’ve heard about robberies, but never anything that bad,” she said. “I can’t believe this happened here. This is not safe.”
Mourners began to decorate the gate outside the building where the shooting occurred Monday night, with flowers, balloons and votive candles.
Among them was Adams, who helped put up a sign that said, “In memory of Addison and Mason.”
Adams described these kids as “happy, well-behaved children” who would often play with other neighborhood kids and her grandchildren. She, too, expressed confusion over Monday’s events.
“I don’t know why he did this,” she said. “I know he had some issues … but he loved his kids, it makes no sense.”