ARLINGTON, Texas &

A man accused of killing his estranged wife and two stepchildren fatally shot himself Friday as he drove into a lake after a nearly seven-hour standoff, police said.




When a wrecker pulled the submerged car out of Lake Arlington, officers saw that Arthur Jackson was dead and had a head wound, said Arlington Police Lt. Blake Miller. No officers had fired any shots, he said.




"Obviously, he was a desperate man," Miller said.




Earlier Friday, Jackson dropped off his bloody but unharmed 3-year-old daughter at an Arlington church. An alarmed worker called police after seeing the child and hearing the man say he had committed a crime at his house, Miller said.




Fort Worth police then went to the one-story brick house and found the bodies of the woman, her 13-year-old daughter and her 10-year-old son, Draper said.




Their names were not released.




The standoff started about 12:30 p.m. after police found the armed man parked in an Arlington driveway near the church. The department's SWAT team joined officers there and surrounded the man, using an armored police vehicle to block him in.




As Arlington police talked to Jackson over a loudspeaker and by cell phone throughout the afternoon, he sometimes held the gun to his head, Miller said. He was agitated but also talked about surrendering and "about things being perfect" at times, Miller said.




An elementary school across the street was locked down and 640 students were moved to the cafeteria, said Arlington schools spokeswoman Veronica Sopher. early evening, most students had been picked up by their parents after leaving though back doors, she said.




During negotiations, Jackson, 32, suddenly drove around the police cars and through a yard, speeding out of the neighborhood, Miller said. He led police on a high-speed chase before shooting himself as he drove into the lake, Miller said.




Fort Worth police were called to the couple's home at least twice since last month, Draper said.




In late September, the man called and said he was afraid the girls were home alone because no one would answer the door, he said.




A week ago, the woman called police and said her estranged husband was knocking on the door, ringing the doorbell and would not go away. But the man was gone when police arrived, Draper said.




Neighbors in this middle class neighborhood of one-story brick houses and well-kept lawns said the man often played in the yard with his stepchildren, who called him daddy.




"He was the friendliest guy around," neighbor Tommy Talbott said. "He was a happy go lucky guy. Every time I saw him, he had a smile."




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Associated Press videographer Rich Matthews contributed to this report.