GARNER VALLEY, Calif. – An investigator for the district attorney's office was found dead Tuesday in his sprawling ranch home along with five other people, including three children, who were all shot to death in their beds in the middle of the night, authorities said.
Sheriff Bob Doyle said detectives have not reached any conclusions about the slayings, but they had not ruled out a murder-suicide. The sheriff said there was no evidence of a break-in or struggle in any of the rooms, and he added that the "community is in no danger."
"We are not at this time looking for a suspect," he said.
David McGowan (search), 44, was found dead of a gunshot wound to the head close to the entrance of the home, Doyle said at a news conference. A handgun and a phone, which may have been used to call 911, were found near his body.
A 14-year-old boy, two girls — ages 8 and 10 — and two adult women were found in beds throughout the house, all of them shot in the head. Names of the victims were withheld pending positive identification, Doyle said.
"The beds were undisturbed. The house itself was undisturbed. It did not appear that the house had been ransacked," Doyle said.
The sheriff said someone called 911 from the house at 4:33 a.m. A 911 dispatcher didn't hear any voices on the line, but was able to identify the sounds of the telephone hitting the wall and a gunshot, Doyle said.
"It was pretty much no one on the other end of the phone. There was some noise that was heard by dispatch," he said.
The remote, mountainous area about 100 miles southeast of Los Angeles is well-known for its horse ranches, nestled among rolling meadows and tall pines.
Public records show David and Karen McGowan bought the 4.5-acre property and 3,331-square-foot ranch house for $425,000 in 2000.
Neighbors said they were shocked by the scene unfolding nearby.
"It's just really quiet here," said David Merriman, whose parents live about a mile from the McGowans. "A lot could happen right next store and you wouldn't even know it."