4 Dead In Calif. Murder-suicide; 5th Person Hurt

Published January 16, 2012 4:27AM (EST)

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) — Two adults and two children were killed in an apparent murder-suicide Sunday at an apartment building in California's Central Valley, while a fifth person was hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

Police were called to investigate a disturbance at the Fresno home shortly before 7 a.m. They found a man outside the apartment suffering from a stab wound, Fresno Police Lt. Mark Salazar said.

The man told officers his "wife" was inside and causing a disturbance; authorities later determined the woman was his live-in girlfriend, Salazar said.

Police then heard a gunshot and rushed inside. They found a woman believed to be in her 20s with a self-inflicted gunshot wound and a man in his 20s or 30s dead of a gunshot wound, he said.

Two children — an 18-month-old and a 3-year-old — also died from gunshot wounds. The children were the dead woman's children, and all five people involved were Hispanic, Salazar said. No names were released.

"We have not done an autopsy yet and we're continuing the investigation, but we believe it was a murder-suicide," Salazar said. "We cannot confirm the order of events, and we don't know what led up to the shooting."

Police also were still investigating the circumstances around the man suffering from a stab wound, Capt. Dennis Bridges told The Fresno Bee. Bridges did not know if there was a history of domestic violence calls or other disturbances at the apartment.

The man suffering from the stab wound was taken to a local hospital, where he was reported to be in critical condition.

A neighbor, Eric Gonzalez, described the residents of the apartment as a "normal" family.

"I never saw them fighting. They would come out with the baby carriage, and the man was taking care of his children," he told an Associated Press reporter outside the apartment complex.

Gonzalez said he did not hear any fighting or gunshots before the incident.

By Salon Staff

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