Maryland police are hunting for a killer after discovering the bodies of two women and two children early Friday morning in a "disgusting" trash-strewn home that officials said was unfit for human use.
Prince George's County Police Chief Roberto Hylton described the "horrific scene" that greeted officers who responded to a 911 call reporting an assault at the Lanham, Md., home. Neighbors said they heard gunshots ring out in the middle of the night.
"I think that no human being should have been living at this location," Hylton said. There's no running water, there's trash and garbage all over the crime scene."
Police found the bodies of two adult females and two children -- a boy and a girl -- believed to be under the age of six.
All four were pronounced dead on the scene. Some if not all of the victims came from the Congo, Hylton said.
The killings have shattered what Hylton described as "normally a very quiet, quiet community," but told residents that the murders appeared to be personal in nature, and that the suspect was known to the victims.
Authorities were conducting interviews with a "significant number" of witnesses and "persons of interest" at the Prince George's County police headquarters.
"We don't think it's just a random suspect that came through," Hylton said at a press conference held slightly before noon.
The bodies of the victims were found in a facility that was detached from the main house and appeared to be a make-shift garage, officials said.
There was no toilet in that facility and water had to be carried from the home for use in the building where the victims were apparently living.
There was "so much trash so much debris and so much filth that we are in the process of bringing in the Department of Public Works" to clean the crime scene, Hylton told reporters.
Police have not released a specific cause of death, citing an ongoing investigation.