A man believed to have shot dead his wife, her sister and three of her children, killed himself after police forced their way into the home where he had fled.
Across the street from the home in Cleveland, Ohio, where Davon Crawford shot himself in the head, several dozen people lined up behind yellow police tape and cheered as a sheet-covered stretcher was removed from the house.
Crawford’s wife, Lechea, 30, was killed about four miles away in the couple’s home on Thursday night, along with her sister and the sister’s four-year-old daughter and two year-old twins. Another child was wounded.
A relative said the Crawfords had recently married, and police said a two-month-old baby found unharmed in the home was believed to be theirs.
On Friday, police teams had set up surveillance on a two-storey red-and-yellow wood frame in a densely-populated Cleveland neighbourhood after receiving information that Crawford, 33, might be inside, police Lt Thomas Stacho said.
Shortly afterwards they saw a man matching Crawford’s description at the house and authorities forced their way through the front door, he said.
Police conducted a room-by-room search to find Crawford, Lt Stacho said.
“There was no stand-off,” he said. “As they confronted him, he shot himself.”
Lt Stacho said an unidentified woman was found in another part of the home, but police did not release any information about her connection to Crawford.
Police Chief Michael McGrath said it appeared that some sort of domestic argument sparked Thursday’s shootings, which he called “one of the worst multiple shootings that I’ve seen in a long time”.
Crawford was convicted in 1995 of voluntary manslaughter, according to prison records. He was released from prison in 2000 and sent back in 2002 on an assault conviction involving domestic violence, according to prison records. He was freed again in 2007.
The shooting victims were Mrs Crawford, her 25-year-old sister Rose Stevens, and Ms Stevens’ three children, Destanee Woods and twins Dion and Davion Primm.
A seven-year-old was wounded and was being treated in hospital.
Two other boys in the house, aged 12 and 13, managed to flee unharmed and one called emergency services, officials said.
Mrs Crawford’s father, Lamar Arnold said his daughter and Crawford had recently got married.
He said his daughter had sent him an unusual mobile phone text message at 7.47pm on Thursday which said: “Call me, live your life, love it.”
“Then I tried to call her about 12 times, and there never was an answer,” Mr Arnold said.
Police said there were two rental units in the house and all the victims were killed in the upstairs apartment.
There was a growing memorial of more than one dozen stuffed animals on the front steps of the house yesterday, and dozens gathered for a candlelight vigil and rally as night fell.
George Julien, 44, who lives across the road, said he was stunned at the shootings.
“I’m almost paralysed. I’m almost not able to move right now,” he said, sitting on his porch.