Three children between the ages of 8 and 12 were found stabbed to death in the back of an SUV parked outside an elementary school in South Los Angeles.
A man suspected to be their father has been hospitalized in critical condition after he was found seated in the front of the vehicle with stab wounds, according to a KTLA report, citing Los Angeles Police Department officials.
Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said officers and firefighters responded to the 300 block of East 32nd Street in the historic South Central neighborhood just before 7 a.m. and located the four victims in the SUV.
The three dead brothers, ages 8 to 12, were found dead of multiple stab wounds in the back of an SUV. They were pronounced dead and later taken to a coroner’s office. A knife was recovered from the front passenger seat, police said.
Beck would not say if the man inside the car is suspected of murdering the siblings, but he emphasized that a suspect was in custody and said there was no danger to the public, KTLA reported.
“These are horrific incidents,” Beck said. “These are incidents that have scarred not only a community but the first responders that have to handle them.”
“It is a sad day in Los Angeles,” he said.
LAPD Officer Matthew Ludwig later confirmed the man was the boys’ father and he was suspected in the children’s murders, according to KTLA.
John Sorrentino, whose owns a nearby furniture store, told the Associated Press that he called 911 after discovering the ghastly crime scene.
“I saw this man behind the steering wheel covered in blood,” he said. “I got a little bit closer, and I saw a young child in the back seat and his eyes were half open and he was covered in blood.
“He was staring out, just in space. It’s still etched in my mind.”
Sorrentino said he spotted a second boy bent over a seat, and in the back, a leg of the third boy lying upright. That’s when he ran inside his store and called 911.
Beck said the three boys were not students at Dolores Huerta Elementary School but they were enrolled in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The boys’ biological mother is deceased and that their stepmother is being interviewed by detectives.