Four Tennessee children stabbed to death

Published: Jul. 1, 2016 at 3:35 PM EDT
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Four children were stabbed to death by their mother at a Shelby County apartment complex early Friday afternoon according to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.

Memphis CBS affiliate WREG-TV reported that the mother of the children, all under the age of six, was in custody.

All of the children were dead when deputies arrived at the Greens at Irene Apartments near Hacks Cross Road according to WREG-TV.

WREG reports the the mother allegedly attacked the children with a knife. A 7-year-old was able to run free and run outside screaming for help from his neighbors who called 911.

The mother of the children has been identified as 29-year-old Shanynitha Gardner.

"There were a number of people outside and the investigation will determine who saw what and whether there were other individuals inside the apartment," Shelby County Sheriff Bill Oldham told WREG. "Our community has suffered an egregious act of evil and tremendous loss today."

Several investigators told WREG the scene was horrific and difficult for them to process.

WREG spoke to residents at the apartment complex. The people they spoke to said they didn't know much about the family and that they recently moved there.

In a statement, Shelby County Mayor Mark H. Luttrell, Jr. said, "My heart breaks with the tragic murder of four young children today. Please pray for their relatives as they grieve for this tremendous loss, and for the first responders that will help them through this dire time. Shelby County’s counseling and trauma relief resources will be available to heal and comfort as best as we can."

Gardner was taken into custody around 1 p.m. Friday and charged.

Additional charges could be filed.The names of the children have not been released, according to WREG.

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