SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Eight family members, five of them children, were found dead of gunshot wounds in a southern Utah home Wednesday, according to authorities, who did not provide further details or a potential motive for the killings.
The victims were found when police searched a home, according to a statement from city officials in Enoch, a small town of about 8,000 people located 245 miles (394 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.
Police said they found no threat to the public.
Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson said the community was shaken by the news of the eight bodies and that the deceased – all members of the same family – were well known in the southern Utah city.
“Many of us have served with them in the church, in the community, and gone to school with these people,” Dotson said in a video statement Wednesday night.
“This community is suffering right now. They feel loss, they’re in pain and they have a lot of questions,” Dotson added, noting that officials plan to release more information as it becomes available and the police investigation progresses.
“We will not know the attitudes, the thoughts of the people who lived through this tragedy, but we can all pray that their families and neighbors and everyone will understand what happened in this place, probably in a day or two, or maybe longer,” he said. Dotson, choking at one point.
Welfare checks, based on calls to the police department like the one that led them to the residence where the bodies were found, are routine when people are not seen for extended periods of time, Dotson said.
The five children attended schools in the Iron County School District, officials said in a letter sent to parents.
Enoch, off Interstate 15 in rural Utah, just north of the city of Cedar City and about 80 miles (128 kilometers) west of Bryce Canyon National Park, experienced major flooding in 2021 that damaged hundreds of homes.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox offered his condolences in a tweet Wednesday night.
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