ERIE, Pa. – A man shot and killed a woman and their two daughters in his home late Saturday morning before turning the gun on himself, authorities said.
Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook identified the dead as a 29-year-old man, a 27-year-old woman and two girls, ages 4 and 7. A 2-year-old boy was taken to a hospital with a minor injury, and police believe the man tried to shoot him, too, he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the man and woman were married.
Kevin Klino, 51, who lives a block away, told The Associated Press that he heard gunshots but was not sure what had happened.
"I was outside just leaving my house when I heard gunfire, four, five, or six shots ... and seconds later, cop cars came flying by," said Klino, who heads a community group called Citizens Reunited Against Crime. He said he talked to police and quickly spread word throughout the neighborhood that it was believed to be a murder-suicide rather than a gunman on the loose.
Regardless, he said, the shootings have shaken the community.
"This is an impoverished neighborhood with a lot of good people in it," Klino said. "People were just walking through the neighborhood stunned. It's not even a tragedy, it's worse than that ... when you've got kids involved, it just numbs you, shocks you."
Klino said his group had been working in the area to combat prostitution, drug dealing and shootings. He noted the number of shootings had decreased markedly over the summer, "but this is something you really can't prevent," he said.
An emergency group meeting would likely be scheduled next week to talk about the warning signs of domestic violence, Klino said.
Another neighbor, Olivia Shultz, told WICU-TV that the children's mother had always been nice to her.
"They were a happy family, never seen them argue or nothing," Shultz said.
Erie is located on the banks of Lake Erie about 25 miles east of the Ohio border.