Police call 5 deaths in northwest Calgary a 'domestic homicide'

Three adults and two children found dead in a northwest Calgary home Wednesday were victims of a "domestic homicide," the city's police chief said.

Three adults and two children found dead in a northwest Calgary home Wednesday were victims of a "domestic homicide," the city's police chief said.

During a police press conference at 4 p.m. MT, Chief Rick Hanson said the victims were two women and a man, all in their 30s, and two girls, aged four and six.

Four were members of the same family, while the fifth was a female tenant, Hanson said. He did not say how the victims died.

"As it stands right now, the preliminary indications are this is a domestic homicide," Hanson said. "Of course, we'll be looking at any other options that could possibly be involved, but we are saying at this point we are not looking for any suspects, and there is no current risk to the community."

Names of the five individuals have not yet been released, as police are still contacting next of kin. None of the adults involved were known to police, he said.

"We checked our records, and we have not been able to identify or locate any information that would indicate that we responded to that house for a domestic or any other type of complaint," Hanson said.

The bodies were found around 10 a.m. MT. A one-year-old girl was found crying in a crib, unharmed. Calgary police Insp. Frank Reuser said the girl is in the care of social services and doing "very well."

At least six police cars and an ambulance rushed to the home in the 5500 block of Dalhart Hill N.W., in the community of Dalhousie.

Kevin Brookwell, of the Calgary Police Service, told CBC News that a family member or friend went to the house early Wednesday to pick up one of the children for school and couldn't get a response. The person went into the house, then called police, Brookwell said.

Reuser, a 35-year veteran of the force who was visibly upset by the events, said the bodies were found throughout the home and none of the deaths was from natural causes. The major crimes unit has been dispatched to the scene, the police spokesman said.

Emergency workers to get counselling

All the emergency personnel who arrived at the scene first, including paramedics and police, have been sent for counselling to deal with what they saw inside.

"It's not something that we're comfortable in dealing with," Reuser said, his voice breaking as he said that five officers had been sent for counselling.

It was "not a very pleasant crime scene," he said.

Brookwell said that he has also heard "it's a difficult scene." 

"Certainly all the officers there have indicated that it's not typically the type of scene that you can prepare for," he said, adding the deaths of the young children were "particularly disturbing."

"There is a certain human component that has touched a lot of people here at this scene."

In Edmonton, Jennifer Klein saw the house on a news website and recognized it as the home of her best friend and her family.

"I screamed and just waited," Klein told CBC News. She called and left a message for her friend.

"I called and just said, 'a family's been murdered and it's on your street and you need to call me right away because I need to know that you're okay,'" she said. "I guess she won't be calling."

Neighbour Mia Albino told CBC News that a family of two adults and three children had lived in the home on the quiet street for at least three years.

"It's very shocking for me," she said. "We don't get that much action on this street, and then all of a sudden, there were two police cars, then three and then four."

She described the family as normal, noting that her son had played soccer with the children at school on Tuesday.

"We don't know them really well. They were nice, really friendly. We saw them at community events," she said.