MUSKOGEE, Okla. — The Muskogee County district attorney announced charges in a case unlike he has ever prosecuted Wednesday afternoon.
“Today, I charge Jarron Pridgeon with six counts of murder,” Orvil Loge said during a news conference.
Pridgeon also faces seven counts of shooting with intent to kill and one count of possession of a firearm while on probation.
The 25-year-old is suspected of killing five children and his younger brother. The victims have only been gone for a little more than a day, but their story is sweeping the nation.
In the city of Muskogee, the victims are honored multiple ways.
On the front porch of the crime scene are balloons, stuffed animals, flowers, and candles. An estimated 200 people attended a prayer vigil hosted by Muskogee Marlon Coleman held outside the Muskogee Civic Center at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
As Mayor Coleman addressed the crowd, he said, “I shed tears of sorrow because being responsible for the well-being of more than 37,000 residents included the lives of those five children.”
900 donors and counting raised more than $35,000 online to pay for the children’s funeral expenses. They were only 2, 3, 5, 6, and 9 years old at the time of their deaths. Three of the children carry Pridgeon’s last name. Police have yet to confirm if he is the father.
As Pridgeon walked out of the Muskogee County Courthouse following his arraignment, he was asked by a reporter, “Do you have your family in your prayers?” Pridgeon did not respond.
Brittany Anderson, the children’s mother, is recovering in a Tulsa hospital. She is now awake and aware of the situation.
“She does know that her babies are gone, but she’s just thanking God that she’s here and working her way through this tragedy,” said Pastor Gary Hall of Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
There is still the question of motive.
“Why would somebody do this,” asked Kim Durossette, a family friend of the victims.
During a Wednesday afternoon press conference, District Attorney Loge said, “So, I’m not going to talk about a motive. The issue on death penalty will be made at a later date once the investigation is complete.”
Loge also announced they will help with funeral expenses and any needed counseling for the families.
Pridgeon’s next court date is Feb. 18.
Watch the news conference held by Muskogee officials below.
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