Suspected Gunman in Thanksgiving Killings Had Been Waiting to Murder Family, Relative Said

The man suspected of killing four family members after Thanksgiving dinner, including his pregnant sister and 6-year-old cousin, told relatives he'd been waiting 20 years to murder them, according to the little girl's father.

Jim Sitton said Tuesday that Paul Michael Merhige had planned to kill his family when he showed up for dinner to his South Florida home, ate and then shot the child, his pregnant sister, her twin sister and his 79-year-old aunt.

Sitton said there were no arguments before the spree and Merhige, 35, wasn't acting strangely during dinner, dessert and singing.

"He had this whole thing preplanned. His goal was to shoot his sisters and punish his parents," Sitton said.

SLIDESHOW: Thanksgiving Killings

During the shooting, Sitton says Merhige pointed the gun at Merhige's uncle and said he'd been waiting to kill him, but the gun misfired.

A manhunt is under way for Merhige.

Tapes of the 911 calls made that night — one by a neighbor and one by someone inside the house in Jupiter, Fla. — were released Tuesday.

As screams echo in the background, a male caller in the midst of the mayhem tells the dispatcher that multiple people have been shot.

Authorities have focused part of their investigation on Michigan because Merhige had sought a physician in the Detroit area in the past year, Jupiter Police Sgt. Scott Pascarella said last week. He was unsure why he needed the doctor.

Merhige is believed to be driving a royal blue 2007 Toyota Camry with a rear spoiler and Florida license plate.

There had been "ongoing resentment" in the family, but investigators weren't sure what specifically prompted Thursday's shooting.

Prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for four counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted first-degree murder for Merhige on Saturday night and a $10,000 reward was offered for information leading to his arrest.

Police said Merhige left briefly before returning to the home where 17 relatives had gathered in Jupiter, a small beach town about 90 miles north of Miami. The town is known as a home to celebrities including Michael Jordan and Burt Reynolds.

Pascarella said police first received a 911 call from a neighbor, then another from someone inside the home. The home, in a well-kept new subdivision with brick-paved driveways, is owned by local TV videojournalist Jim Sitton and his wife. The home was surrounded Friday by yellow crime scene tape and police crime unit vans.

Sitton's daughter Makayla had gone to bed before the rampage, according to police.

"God packed a lot of sweetness into that little body," Sitton said last week. "She's just our life. I don't know how we are ever going to recover."

The other victims were Merhige's twin sisters, Carla Merhige and Lisa Knight, and an aunt, Raymonde Joseph. Merhige's brother-in-law Patrick Knight was in critical but stable condition at a local hospital. Another man, Clifford Gebara, 52, was grazed by a bullet.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.