Photos of 23-year-old Globeville resident Mayra Nunez and her kids -- daughters Nivek, six, and Isabella, three, and son Eric, two -- depict a happy young family. But from this point forward, they'll likely trigger more sadness than joy in friends and loved ones. That's because Denver police believe Nunez shot all three of her offspring before turning the gun on herself. She's dead, as are Nivek and Eric, and Isabella is clinging to life at this writing. Photos, videos and heart-rending details below.
At this point, plenty of questions remain unanswered -- but here's what we know.
Mayra Nunez with Nivek, Eric and Isabella.
9News quotes Tony Nunez, Mayra's brother, as saying Mayra and husband Ricky Perez "were having a little argument" on Tuesday evening. The fight was apparently serious enough that Perez decided to spend the night at a friend's place rather than his own -- something he relayed to Tony in a phone call.
After the spat, Tony called his sister to check on her. "I told her, 'You want me to go get you?'" he revealed. Her reply, he said, was "No, no, we're fine. Just a married couple thing."
At some point afterward, however, it became infinitely more than that.
At 7 a.m. yesterday morning, Ricky returned to his home, near East 49th Avenue and Pearl Street in Globeville -- and the scene he found was described as "horrific." He subsequently phoned Tony and conveyed what had taken place in four simple, straight-forward, earth-shattering words: "She shot the kids."
Another look at Eric, Isabella and Nivek.
The emotions this discovery unleashed are conveyed in police recordings obtained by the station.
"A father is hysterical, crying, but he says the 2-year-old is still breathing," a dispatcher is quoted as saying. "[It] sounds like it's a mom that shot a couple of her kids and possibly herself. Police are pulling up on scene now."
Nivek and Eric were reportedly already dead by the time help arrived. But, the dispatcher later noted, "One child is crying and breathing. Possibly shot in the head."
The kids cleaning up in a family photo.
The family had been in Colorado for a couple of years, having relocated from El Paso, Texas. As for the weapon that took three lives, Tony noted that they kept a handgun in their home for "protection."
Unfortunately, the gun didn't protect Nivek and Eric -- or Isabella, either. At last report, she's in extremely critical condition at an area hospital.
Look below to see three videos from 7News -- raw footage of Denver Police Chief Robert White's first conversations with reporters at the scene, plus another pair of reports sharing information about Mayra Nunez and her desperate final acts.
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More from our Mile High Murder archive: "Sonny Archuleta triple murder in Aurora: Guns purchased legally (55-57)."