Five people have died at a property in Washington state in an apparent murder-suicide after a man called police saying he shot his wife and children.
Detectives said all the victims appear to be part of the same family, including a 12-year-old girl who survived and was taken to hospital, who is thought to be the gunman’s daughter.
Police chiefs said the man called a sergeant’s personal phone at 9.37am before officers arrived at the property in Belfair, south of Seattle, to find him armed.
A three-hour standoff ensued before a SWAT team raided the home shortly after midday, at which point the gunman came out and killed himself with a single self-inflicted bullet wound, police said.
Five people have been found dead inside a home in Washington state after a man phoned police saying he had shot his wife and children. Pictured, police outside the property
Police say the man got into a standoff with armed officers before walking outside and shooting himself. Pictured left, armed police at the property, and right, Adeline Peebles who claimed to be a friend of the victims
A SWAT team then entered the property found four bodies inside, though their identities and relation to the man were not immediately released.
It is not clear how the man obtained the sergeant’s personal number, though police said the officer had dealt with the man in the past. No further details were given.
‘It’s a terrible tragedy,’ Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury said.
Chief Deputy Russell Osterhout added: ‘As far as I know, this is one family, the shooter was the father and the victims were his family.’
He added that all of the victims were found in one area of the property away from where the gunman killed himself.
The shootings were believed to have stemmed from a ‘domestic situation’, though police did not release any more information on a possible motive.
Jack Pigott, 79, a neighbor who lives across from the family, said he heard gunshots Thursday night but none Friday.
The couple who lived in the house about 25 miles southwest of Seattle had been married for four or five years, Pigott said.
The wife had two teenage sons who were adopted from Russia during a previous marriage. She also had a daughter who was adopted from China.
Mason County Sheriff Casey Salisbury, right, said a 12-year-old girl related to the victims had survived the shooting and been taken to hospital, but her condition is currently unknown
Salisbury added that the officer called to the scene of the shooting had dealt with the man in the past, but refused to give any further details
The identities of those killed have not been released, but neighbors said the man had a wife of five years who had two teen sons adopted from Russia from a previous marriage, and a daughter adopted from China
Pigott said the husband had a heating and air conditioning contractor business. He had recently been hospitalized, Pigott said, but he didn’t know why.
When he returned home, he was on a lot of medications, Pigott said of the man.
It was common for the family to do shooting practice, Pigott said, and that’s what he thought of when he heard the gunfire.
‘I was getting a load of wood into the house, and I hear some gunshots,’ he said. ‘Four or five, a pause and then another round.’
Pigott said residents know each other in the area that has homes with large lots with room for horses.
‘It’s actually really scary because when you live out like this, you want to feel like your neighbors are someone you can rely on, not somebody you have to be afraid of because we are out in a secluded area,’ said another neighbor, Lynn Johnson.
Jack Pigott, who lives down the road from the shooting, said the man involved had been to hospital recently and had returned home on lots of medication, though it was unclear what they were for
Neighbors reported hearing a series of shots on Thursday night but said the family regularly took part in target shooting, and so thought nothing else of it
Salisbury also revealed that the deputy first called to scene of the shooting had dealt with the man before, but did not give details of their history.
He said the officer went to the home with another deputy and, after finding the man armed, set up a perimeter around the home and waited for backup to arrive.
A SWAT team was seen entering the home around three hours after the stand-off began.
Negotiators tried to speak to the man before the home was raided.
Belfair is about 25 miles south west of Seattle.