SANTA CLARA, Calif. – A father is suspected of killing his two children and three other relatives before taking his own life in an upscale neighborhood of Silicon Valley where the family had recently moved.
Authorities were still searching Tuesday for a motive in Sunday night's slayings, though they have said finances issues did not appear to be a factor.
The 42-year-old suspected gunman's wife, a woman in her mid-30s, managed to escape Sunday night from the town house where officers later found the other five bodies in a "very horrific" scene, police said. She was in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds.
The rest of the shooting victims, who police said would be identified Tuesday, were killed.
Authorities said a neighbor called police around 8:30 p.m. Sunday after hearing a noise outside and finding the man's wife bleeding on a sidewalk in the Santa Clara community of Rivermark, about seven miles northwest of San Jose, Lt. Phil Cooke said.
Scattered inside the three-story town house, officers found the bodies of the suspected gunman's 11-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter and a 35-year-old man and his 25-year-old wife, both visiting from India.
An 11-month-old girl — the child of the couple who had recently come from India — was alive when paramedics arrived, but died overnight at a local hospital, according to police.
The suspected gunman was found on the top floor, dead from a self-inflicted wound, according to Santa Clara Police Capt. Mike Sellers. Two handguns were found at the scene.
"We're very confident that this is a case of a family-related murder-suicide," Cooke said Monday night.
Complicating the task was that the family had moved into the neighborhood only recently. Jackie Severin, whose husband helped administer first aid to the injured woman, said the town house had been for rent and she did not know a family with children was living there.
Severin, who wasn't home Sunday night, said her husband, Sergei, did not hear any shots and only found out something was amiss when a neighbor came to the door and told him about the bleeding woman on the sidewalk. Her husband grabbed several sheets to cover her up and saw that the door of the town house was open but did not go inside, Severin said.
Residents described Rivermark, a 7-year-old planned community with a shopping center, playgrounds and a mix of town houses, condominiums and Spanish-style houses that go for $1 million, as relatively quiet. Located near several high-tech companies, it draws a mix of retirees and young professionals.
"It's the sleepiest little area. Nothing ever happens here," said Jackie Stewart, who walked with her husband over to the crime scene.
Along with another mother, Sameena Usman placed two bouquets of flowers and a stuffed dog inside the yellow police tape cordoning off the street.
"It's a sad situation. We're pretty tight-knit around here," Usman said while pushing her toddler son in a stroller. "Their children could've played with my kids."
Cooke said he could recall three other family shootings in the last several years in Santa Clara, a city of about 108,000.
In 2002, a woman killed her estranged husband, two daughters and herself in her home. In 2003, a man smothered and drowned his 3-year-old son and a 12-year-old stepdaughter before jumping off a cliff. The same year, a man shot his wife and three children while they were visiting from Orange County.
Santa Clara was rocked by another shooting in November, when authorities said a Silicon Valley engineer opened fire at an office park hours after being fired from his job, killing three colleagues.