INDIANAPOLIS – Police hunted on Friday for the killers who barged into a home and shot seven family members to death in the worst mass murder in Indianapolis in at least 25 years.
The bodies of three boys, ages 5 to 11, were found on a bed, and four adult relatives were discovered elsewhere in the house after the Thursday night robbery and massacre that rocked the working-class neighborhood.
Police said the attackers — a witness reported seeing three or four men run out the back of the house — were armed with assault rifles.
One of the suspects is a 28-year-old man who grew up in the area and had returned last fall after getting out of prison on drug and weapons charges, police said.
"He'd gone there to rob the home and decided while he was there to execute everybody at the same time, unfortunately," Sgt. Matthew Mount said.
Police said they could not immediately tell whether anything was taken from the neat, 1 1/2-story home.
Killed were Emma Valdez, 46; her husband, Alberto Covarrubias, 56; their sons Alberto Covarrubias, 11, and David Covarrubias, 8 or 9; Valzez's daughter, Flora Albarran, 22; Albarran's 5-year-old son, Luis; and Albarran's brother Magno Albarran, 29.
Police had been called to home only once before, to check an alarm.
"You couldn't ask for better neighbors," said Frank Dodson, 49, who lives across the street.
The Covarrubias boys had just celebrated their First Communions.
"Right now we're kind of in shock," said the pastor, the Rev. Carlton Beever.
The neighborhood, just east of downtown Indianapolis, is in decline. Some houses have boarded-up windows, and there are vacant lots strewn with litter and overgrown with weeds. Residents have called police to report drug activity, prostitution, thefts and assaults.
"We have been complaining and complaining," said Sandy Washington, 65. "Our voices aren't heard."
In 1981, a laid-off autoworker in Indianapolis killed his estranged wife, mother-in-law and four children. He was sentenced to six consecutive 40-year prison terms.