The horrific discovery of four adult members of a family shot dead inside an apartment in a suburb of Cincinnati prompted police on Monday to warn the public that the killer remains on the loose and has not been identified.
The bodies of the four family members, three women and a man, were discovered Sunday night by a relative, who called 911, West Chester Township Police Chief Joel Herzog said at a news conference on Monday.
He said all of the victims were shot to death and that it appeared the killer struck as the family were cooking a meal.
"At this time we are actively working this case, looking to identify a suspect," Herzog said. "The safety of the community is paramount for us. So we're diligently working to ensure that everybody is safe in the community."
The identities of the victims were pending autopsies, but Herzog said they were members of the same family and all shared a residence at the Lakefront at West Chester apartment complex.
He said a relative found the bodies about 10 p.m. on Sunday and called 911.
"There was also some reports that there was a fire inside. There was unattended food that was being prepped at the time and that's where the call from the smoke and fire came," said Herzog, explaining that the fire was not intentionally set.
Herzog said there was no evidence found indicating the victims were armed.
"It does not appear that there was any return fire," Herzog said.
He said that after the bodies were discovered, a K-9 unit and an Ohio State Highway Patrol helicopter combed the area in search for the suspect.
Herzog said police had previously responded to the family's apartment for routine calls, including a theft.
"No unusual calls there," he said. "Just your normal runs for service."