Eight family members have been found dead from gunshot wounds in their Utah home, according to authorities.
Police found the victims, five of whom were children, after conducting a welfare check at the residence in Enoch, located nearly 250 miles south of Salt Lake City, on Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report.
Enoch City Manager Rob Dotson told local media that the town of about 8,000 people was sent reeling by the news as the deceased were well known in the community.
“This is not normal, this is not something that happens often at all, and in a small community in rural Utah,” he said. “We’re all family, so this affects everybody and everybody had some connection to the individuals and some connection to the family.”
Dotson added that officials are planning to release more information as it becomes available and the investigation progresses.
He continued: “Many of us have served with them in church, in the community and gone to school with these individuals.
“This community at this time is hurting. They’re feeling loss, they’re feeling pain and they have a lot of questions,
“We won’t know the mindsets, the thoughts of the individuals who experienced this tragedy, but we all can pray that their families and the neighbors and all will come to an understanding of what happened in this place, probably in a day or two, or maybe longer.”
Police have not revealed whether the family was known to them or why they were conducting a welfare check. They have also not revealed whether they have any suspects for the killings or what the motive may have been. Police have noted that they did not believe there is a current threat to the public.
Officials have said that the five children involved all attended schools in the Iron County School District, according to a Sky News report.
In a letter sent to parents, the school district said: “It is with deep regret that we inform you about a tragic loss to our school community.
“This loss is sure to raise many emotions, concerns, and questions for our entire school district, especially our students.
“We are saddened by the loss to our school community and will make every effort to help you and your child as needed.”
Utah Governor Spencer Cox, sharing an article about the deaths, tweeted: “Our hearts go out to all those affected by this senseless violence. Please keep the community of Enoch in your prayers.”
Newsweek has contacted the Iron County School District and the Enoch City Police Department for comment.