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5 killed as man sets woman, 3 kids on fire in car

Neighbors awakened by a car crash reported a terrifying scene: A man and woman staggered from the burning wreck, both in flames. Then the man started shooting at her.
Pierce County sheriff detectives Jim Harai, left, and Denny Wood, look for evidence at the scene.Bruce Kellman / The News Tribune
/ Source: The Associated Press

Neighbors awakened by a car crash reported a terrifying scene: A man and woman staggered from the burning wreck, both in flames. Then the man started shooting at her.

“I heard a voice in a field saying, ’Help, help, help me please,”’ said Lisa Hansen, who called 911. “It was the woman standing there with her shirt burned off screaming in pain, saying, ’He did it! He did this on purpose! My three babies are in the car. Help me, please.”’

Police say the fiery crash happened after a man doused his girlfriend and her three small children with gasoline inside the car and set them on fire as he drove. All five died after the crash early Wednesday near Bonney Lake, a small town east of Tacoma.

Antigone Monique Allen, 18, who had recently filed an assault complaint against the 24-year-old man, survived for nearly eight hours at a Seattle hospital, sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said. She managed to tell investigators and family what happened before she died.

Laveda Allen said her sister, known as Mona to family and friends, had gone out the previous evening with her estranged boyfriend, identified as Genaro Garcia, who was the father of her children.

Garcia snorted cocaine while they were out Tuesday night and the two began arguing, Laveda Allen said. Her sister demanded that he take her home.

They stopped at a gas station, and, because she had been dozing, she didn’t notice right away that he had filled a container with gasoline, Laveda Allen said.

They drove along back roads before Garcia pulled a gun and pointed it at Mona Allen’s head. He grabbed the container and splashed gasoline on the children, Mona and himself, Laveda Allen said.

He flicked a lighter and the car erupted, left the road and flipped over.

The two adults stumbled from the wreck, and Garcia, who had two guns with him, began shooting. Neighbors said he fired four or five shots; it wasn’t clear if any bullets hit Mona Allen.

Autopsies for the all the victims were scheduled Thursday. The children were identified as Christine Allen-Garcia, 2½; and two boys, Kristian Allen-Garcia, 1½, and 8-month-old Adam Allen-Garcia.

Hansen, who lives nearby, said she heard the crash and drove down the road to see if she could help. She saw the woman standing, with her shirt burned off, but Hansen could not get to her because an electrified horse fence was between them.

Laveda Allen said doctors told her sister had burns over 85 percent of her body.

“She said she wanted to be with her babies. She wasn’t angry. She knew she was going to die, and she was willing to go, but she wanted to say bye,” she said.

Troyer said Allen had recently filed an assault complaint, but failed to follow through.

“They were in the process of getting back together or breaking up, off and on,” the detective said. The woman’s relatives indicated there had been “some unreported domestic violence,” Troyer said.

Laveda Allen said she wasn’t upset with Garcia.

“He was a good person,” she said. “He was an illegal immigrant here, but he was a hard worker and tried to do what he had to do to make it.

“He just went over the deep end. He probably just loved her too much. He didn’t want to see his kids being taken care of by another man.”

The family is planning to bury her and the three children on Saturday, which would have been Mona Allen’s 19th birthday.