Police in Virginia found six members of a Virginia family dead in an apparent murder-suicide after officers tried for hours to negotiate with an armed, barricaded person, authorities said Thursday.

It began when officers were sent to a home Wednesday afternoon to check on a person and found a dead body, Chesapeake police said in a news release. They said their investigation led them to another home about a block away, where they found an armed person barricaded inside.

After officers negotiated for several hours, police said they entered the home and found five people dead, including the armed person they had been negotiating with. Police said they believe that person killed the others. Police did not immediately release their names.

Chesapeake Murder Suicide

A police officer rolls up crime scene tape around a house in Chesapeake, Va. Officers were sent to a home on Wildwood Drive to check on a person and found a dead body. Their investigation then led them to another home about a block away, where they found an armed person barricaded inside. (Thé N. Pham/The Virginian-Pilot/Associated Press)

The bodies were taken to the medical examiner's office for autopsies, police said. A spokesman for the medical examiner's office did not immediately return a telephone message.

Cheryl Harris, who lives near the house where the first body was found, told the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk that she was sitting in her living room about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday when she saw police and ambulance lights.

"I knew it was a bad situation because they all came in without sirens," said Harris, a retired Portsmouth dispatcher.

Harris said she later went to a restaurant parking lot where she watched officers try to negotiate with a gunman inside a home across the street. A negotiator kept telling the person to come out.

"Let's talk," Harris said she heard the negotiator saying. "We can work this out."

chesapeake virginia

Police in Chesapeake, Va., said they entered a home and found five people dead, including an armed person they had been negotiating with. (Google Maps)

Harris said she heard no gunshots, only a concussion grenade police threw into the house late Wednesday. She estimated negotiations went on until about 3:30 a.m., when she said police went into the house.

Desiree Darst, who lives in the neighbourhood, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that she has known the occupants of the two homes for years. She described them as "just really good Christian people."

"It's just a shock," she said of the deaths. "This is a close-knit neighborhood."