SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Authorities sought a motive Sunday after an assailant entered a Sacramento home and shot three people to death, police said. A fourth person who is a suspect in the shooting also died, while a fifth person was wounded and was in critical condition.
Officers who responded to reports of gunfire at the home late Saturday night found three men and one woman dead, police spokeswoman Officer Michelle Gigante said. One of the dead was shot by someone inside the house who had confronted him, Gigante said.
There were no signs of forced entry, but the gunman entered the home and fatally shot the male and female residents, then shot two guests in the home, one of them fatally, Gigante said.
Another resident was in a back room of the home.
"He hears all this, he comes out and they exchange fire, the suspect is killed at the scene," Gigante said. "We're pretty confident we've got our shooter, and he's deceased."
Police were not releasing names, but the dead woman and two of the dead men were in their 50s, while one of the dead men was in his mid-20s, she said. She did not have an age on the surviving guest. The resident who killed the suspect was not injured, she said; she would not release his age.
Deputy coroners removed the last two bodies from the single-story, eggshell blue home Sunday evening. Crime scene investigators were observed carrying a half-dozen rifles from the home and putting them in a police van.
"At first we're thinking this was a home invasion. At this point we don't know what it was. We don't believe it was a random act. We believe it was gang related," Gigante said. "It's still early. At this point we're trying to figure out what happened."
Su Vang, who often acts as a spokesman for the Hmong community in Sacramento, said the deceased residents were a husband and wife, and their son was the one who confronted and killed the assailant. He said the husband was known in the Hmong community as a shaman, or faith healer.
As investigators worked Sunday, more than a dozen people gathered just outside of the crime scene tape that cordoned off the home and the entire block of the residential neighborhood of one-story homes.
Television news trucks were parked nearby, while reporters looked on and children rode their bicycles and played in nearby yards.
Authorities still hadn't released the names of the victims, but neighbor Mai Thao, who previously lived on the same block, said she knew the victims.
"They're really nice people," she said. "They're always quiet and looked really happy."
She said she had seen them tending to the flowers and vegetables that could be seen growing in the front yard of the home. The shades were drawn, and wind chimes swayed from the front porch.
Neighbors said they hadn't heard the shootings, though one said his nephew heard what he thought were fireworks and didn't pay attention until police began arriving.
The surviving victim remained in critical but stable condition Sunday, Gigante said, but she declined to provide additional details.
Police were asking members of the public who may have information about the shooting to contact them.
Marshall reported from San Francisco.