LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas lawyer and his wife had been in the middle of a contentious battle for custody of her children from a previous marriage when the woman’s former father-in-law, also an attorney, fatally shot them last week during a deposition hearing in the case, according to authorities and relatives.

The coroner’s office in Las Vegas identified the victims as lawyer Dennis Prince and his wife, Ashley. Both were shot multiple times, the coroner’s office said, before 77-year-old Joseph Houston shot and killed himself.

Gunfire erupted just minutes after the deposition hearing began on the morning of April 8 at Dennis Prince’s law firm, Prince Law Group, in the affluent Summerlin neighborhood.

Seven people were in the room at the time of the shooting, police said. The four others, including a court reporter, were able to quickly escape and call police.

At a news conference Monday, Ashley Prince’s parents said their daughter was previously married to Houston’s son and had been trying for years to gain sole custody of two their children. Houston, a lawyer in Nevada since 1974, had been representing his son in the custody battle, court records show.

Julie Page said they will continue their daughter’s fight to win custody of the children, ages 4 and 5.

“Our daughter Ashley was a devoted and fierce protector of her children,” Page said, choking back tears as she told reporters that her daughter “would have never given up the fight for her children.”

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, which is investigating the shooting, didn’t immediately respond Monday to a request for comment on the family’s statement.

Bryce Page said Monday that his sister “was beaming from her core” after she met Dennis Prince. He said his sister realized a lifelong dream to build a “warm, loving environment” for her family after she recently welcomed her first child with Dennis Prince.

Prince was a trial lawyer in Las Vegas for 30 years and headed Prince Law Group, where the shooting unfolded.

He started that firm after building a reputation as a top attorney in Nevada personal injury, product liability, negligence and insurance cases. His professional profiles say he tried more than 90 cases to verdict and had more than a dozen published state Supreme Court cases.

“With profound sadness, Prince Law Group would like to thank everyone who has reached out to us with heartfelt messages of concern and sympathy over the tragic violence that occurred this morning in our offices,” the law group said in a statement last week.

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Associated Press writer Ken Ritter in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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