‘I told you this would happen’: 911 call offers glimpse into 2-year-old girl’s fatal shooting

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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2-year-old suffers fatal gunshot day after birthday, father charges with child endangerment

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A heartbreaking 911 call released Monday has shed light on an Ohio toddler’s fatal weekend shooting and a subsequent standoff with her armed father, who authorities say has been the subject of 60 calls to police in the past decade.

Noelle Elizabeth Massuros, 2, of Pataskala, celebrated her birthday the day before she was killed, according to Fox28 in Columbus. The girl died Saturday morning of an apparent accidental gunshot wound to the head.

Licking County court records show that the Noelle's father, Jason Massuros, has been charged with felony endangering the welfare of children. Massuros, 41, was released from the Licking County Jail on Tuesday after posting bond, the Newark Advocate reported.

Noelle, whose obituary included her nickname, Princess Pea, was described as "always happy and full of life and light."

"She loved to watch her favorite show, Blippi, and listen to her favorite song, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star," the obituary read. "Noelle loved dancing (and) playing with her big brothers; she loved to play in the sandbox outside."

ExploreClick here to see a memorial video of Noelle Massuros, courtesy of Newcomer Cremations, Funerals & Receptions.

Massuros' wife, Mary Massuros, told investigators her husband regularly left loaded weapons lying around the house, where they were accessible to anyone, according to The Associated Press. The distraught woman, who attempted to perform CPR on her daughter, said she thought her 6-year-old son had shot the girl while playing with the weapon.

An 11-year-old was also in the home at the time of the shooting. The Advocate reported Thursday that a Glock and an AR-15 assault rifle with a fully loaded magazine were seized from the house after the girl's death.

Mary Massuros told a dispatcher she'd heard a noise about two hours before she found her lifeless daughter but did not realize what the sound was, the AP reported. The 911 call was placed around 11 a.m. Saturday.

In the call, which was obtained by Fox28 and the Advocate, screaming could be heard in the background as Mary Massuros told the dispatcher, "There's been an accident with a weapon. My daughter's been shot with a gun."

She told the dispatcher that "some (expletive) idiot" had left the gun lying around and the boy was playing with it when it went off, Fox28 reported. She could be heard chastising someone in the home during the emotional call.

"Oh my God, Oh my God! Stop! Why did you have a gun in the house?" Mary Massuros said, according to the Advocate. "I told you this would happen."

As she attempted to revive her daughter, Mary Massuros told the dispatcher the girl had “just turned 2 yesterday.”

She then told the dispatcher, who was helping guide her through CPR, that she was also trying to deal with another person in the home who had the gun and was becoming agitated, the Advocate reported.

Pataskala police officers arrived at the family's home in the 300 block of Haystack Avenue to find Mary Massuros and her daughter on the upper level of the home. Neighbors said they saw three officers run inside the home, their weapons drawn, WSYX in Columbus reported.

In the basement, Jason Massuros had the AR-15 rifle pointed at himself and was threatening suicide, the Advocate reportedFox28 reported that the man warned officers not to enter the room.

An officer, realizing that paramedics would not be able to come inside due to the standoff, grabbed Noelle and ran outside with her, the news station reported.

"He was holding (the girl) and running down the road," neighbor Vidal Garcia told WSYX. "And (shouting), 'We need a medic.' I saw her arms and hands were dangling."

Noelle was rushed to Nationwide Children’s Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Jason Massuros spent the next several hours negotiating with police officers.

"The father sat on a couch in the lower level living room with an AR-15 rifle under his chin and his finger on the trigger," a police news release obtained by the Advocate said.

When Jason Massuros moved his finger from the trigger, officers used a Taser to shock him. He was taken into custody around 2:40 p.m., the newspaper reported.

In a Facebook statement posted Sunday morning, Pataskala police officials praised the “tremendous teamwork that went into resolving the incident” at the couple’s home.

"The sacrifice that so many made yesterday was astounding," the statement read. "So many of us put ourselves in harm's way in an attempt to save a life, which we did. Each and everyone one of us would do it again if called upon today. Know, you had some of the finest men and women protecting your community yesterday.

“Today, please know that we all will grieve and recover in our own way. If you happen to see one of your local heroes today, thank them.”

Neighbors told Fox28 they were shocked to learn of Noelle's death, one man describing Jason Massuros as a good father.

"You could tell that she was the apple of their eye. They loved that little girl," Don Ulry, who lives next door to the family, told the news station. "That's why I know that whatever happened, it was an accident. I do know that he's a good man."

Assistant Licking County Prosecutor Jenny Gonzales-Wells told the Advocate, however, that police received 60 calls regarding domestic situations involving guns or knives since 2009, when the Massuros family moved into their home. Officers responded to the home at least 13 times, according to Pataskala police reports.

Gonzales-Wells explained that although authorities received five dozen calls about Jason Massuros, in-person responses or written police reports may not have been necessary each time, the newspaper said.

In September 2009, police went to the home for a call of an intoxicated man with a gun trying to kill himself, the reports showed. Officers and a crisis intervention team went to the address again seven months later on a call of a man with mental issues and a gun.

In June 2012, an officer went to the home following a report of "a suspect possibly on bath salts with a knife," the Advocate reported.

Combined ShapeCaption
Pictured in a May 2012 Street View image is the Pataskala, Ohio, home where Noelle Elizabeth Massuros, 2, was shot to death Saturday, Nov. 14, 2019. The girl's father, Jason Massuros, 41, of is charged with endangering the welfare of children in connection with the shooting. (Google)

Pictured in a May 2012 Street View image is the Pataskala, Ohio, home where Noelle Elizabeth Massuros, 2, was shot to death Saturday, Nov. 14, 2019. The girl's father, Jason Massuros, 41, of is charged with endangering the welfare of children in connection with the shooting. (Google)

Combined ShapeCaption
Pictured in a May 2012 Street View image is the Pataskala, Ohio, home where Noelle Elizabeth Massuros, 2, was shot to death Saturday, Nov. 14, 2019. The girl's father, Jason Massuros, 41, of is charged with endangering the welfare of children in connection with the shooting. (Google)

Three more reports were filed in the past 14 months, the newspaper found. According to a December 2018 report, Mary Massuros told officers Jason Massuros had grabbed her wrist and broken her cellphone.

No charges were filed at that time, the report showed.

In the most recent incident prior to Saturday’s shooting, officers went to the Massuros home in early November for disorderly conduct on Jason Massuros’ part. No charges were filed against him.

Pataskala Deputy Police Chief Michael Boals told the Advocate Monday that detectives have not definitively determined that Noelle was shot by her brother. He declined to go into further detail, citing the ongoing nature of the investigation.

Gonzales-Wells told the newspaper the case will go before a grand jury, which will determine if additional charges against Jason Massuros are warranted.

Prosecutors are looking at whether others will also face charges in the case.

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