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Mom Shoots 8 Year Old Daughter, Kills Self

Last updated on Friday, April 6, 2012

(JEFFERSONVILLE) - Investigators say a woman with two children shot and injured her 8-year-old daughter as she slept in the family’s home in Jeffersonville on Thursday before turning the gun on herself and taking her own life.

The girl underwent surgery and was in stable condition at Kosair Children's Hospital in nearby Louisville, Ky., Jeffersonville Police Detective Todd Hollis said. The child was shot in the side of the head.

"It's nothing short of miraculous she was able to speak to officers and she didn't even know at the time that she had been shot," Hollis said. "She knew she was hurt."

The girl's 10-year-old brother was in his bedroom in the southeast Indiana apartment when the shootings occurred and called 911, Hollis said. The boy wasn't physically harmed. The children and their mother were the only ones living in the apartment, authorities said.

The mother, 35-year-old Melissa Combs, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Clark County Coroner Edwin Coots said. She was a single mother, authorities said.

One of her neighbors, Shelly Cannon, told WDRB-TV that Combs was looking for work but nothing appeared unusual when they spoke Wednesday.

"I was talking to her about getting a job where I work at," Cannon said. "She looked normal yesterday. She didn't look like anything was wrong."

Hollis said the motivation behind the shootings wasn't yet clear.

"We're still in the very early stages of the investigation about her situation," he said.

Combs shot her daughter in the child's bedroom, then turned the gun on herself in the living room of their apartment, Hollis said. The Indiana Department of Child Services granted temporary custody of the children to Combs' sister, who lives in Louisville, Hollis said.

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