Four children were found dead in a public housing complex Friday after a man walked into police headquarters and said he had killed his family.

The man, who had been living in Oregon, had an argument about the children with his estranged wife before he attacked her with a blunt instrument, said Lt. Col. Phil Turner.

"We believe she was assaulted first and then the children killed," Turner said.

The children's mother, 29-year-old Fatuma Amir, suffered injuries that were not life-threatening and was speaking to investigators, he said.

Said Biyad, 42, went to police headquarters around 9 a.m. and told police, "I've just killed my family," Turner said. Biyad was charged with four counts of murder and one count of assault.

Police officers sent to the apartment at the Iroquois Homes complex found the children's bodies. The three girls were ages 8, 7 and 4, and the boy was about to turn 3, Turner said.

Autopsies were scheduled for Saturday, he said.

Amir's brother, Osman Noor, remembered the children as being "wonderful."

"Everybody is sad today," Noor said. "We've never seen ... somebody do like this."

Hassan Muya, a family friend, said the family had emigrated from Somalia to Oregon, but Amir moved to Louisville when they began to have problems. He said Biyad had come to Louisville in recent weeks, perhaps to reconcile.

Christina Geiger, 31, who has lived at the complex since January, said her children played with the young victims. Geiger said she hadn't noticed any problems between the woman and the man.

"I call it a senseless tragedy. That's what I think of this," she said through tears.