Police authorities search a nearby pond at a scene at an apartment complex Monday, April 29, 2019, in West Chester, Ohio. Several people were found dead at the apartment complex where multiple gunshots were fired, police said Monday. No suspect has been identified. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
WEST CHESTER, Ohio – Three women and a man were found dead at an apartment complex in Ohio where multiple gunshots were fired, police said Monday. No suspect has been identified.
A man called 911 around 10 p.m. Sunday, saying he had arrived at the complex in a northern Cincinnati suburb to find four members of his family on the floor, according to West Chester Township police.
"They are on the ground and bleeding," said the caller, often choking up and out of breath as the dispatcher struggled to get details from him. "They are all bleeding."
At times, he can be heard on the 911 audio frantically yelling "Help!" apparently to neighbors at the Lakefront at West Chester complex.
Township Police Chief Joel Herzog said at a news conference Monday that it's too early in the investigation to suggest a motive. It will be up to the Butler County coroner to determine the cause of death and release the victims' identities, Herzog said.
Herzog said that it didn't appear that anyone had shot back at the perpetrator or perpetrators, whom police were still working to identify. They were also interviewing family members and neighbors.
"It does not appear that the shooter is among the dead," Herzog said, adding that he doesn't believe there is any danger to the community. There was no lockdown in effect at a nearby school, he said.
"It appears to be isolated," Herzog said.
He added that the victims all appeared to have lived in the same apartment in the township, which is a growing, mostly suburban area roughly 20 miles (32 kilometers) north of Cincinnati.
The man who called 911 provided little information on the call about what appeared to have happened. Herzog said police had interviewed the caller, but he wasn't in custody. He confirmed that the caller was a relative of the victims. Herzog also said there apparently were other people who lived at the residence, including children who weren't there at the time and now are staying with other relatives.
A police report released later Monday said the crime was reported by Gurpreet Singh, 36, identified as a resident of the apartment who found the four people dead.
Police have not made public the names of the victims, but people gathering for a Monday evening prayer service at the Sikh Temple Gurdwara near the apartment complex said they believed the victims were members of a family that had worshipped at the temple for years.
"It's a very great loss for our community," said Jasminder Singh, president of the temple's executive council. "Everybody is in shock."
Police said it appeared the family was preparing dinner when attacked, and there was some smoke when they arrived from the abandoned meal preparation.
Authorities have said that multiple agencies, including the State Highway Patrol, have been assisting in the investigation.
Police established a perimeter around the apartment complex early Monday and used police helicopters and dogs to search for a suspect. They also searched a nearby pond for clues.
Herzog said: "We're actively searching with all the resources we can."
Associated Press writer Dan Sewell in Cincinnati contributed to this report.