Inside, police found three people who had been shot: a woman in her 30s, a girl in her early teens and a boy between 8 and 12 years old.
The woman and the girl were pronounced dead at the scene, and the boy was taken to Regions Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.
“That is a sad story,” said Xeng Xiong, who lives across the street. “These are my neighbors, this is my area. I live close to it. That’s not a good sign. This is sad for the family.”
The homicide unit was notified, and forensics services are also investigating.
Police are trying to determine if the victims were related.
They aren’t commenting on whether a weapon has been recovered.
It’s unknown if other people were in the home at the time of the shooting.
“Unfortunately, these types of calls are hard,” Ernster said. “This one in particular is hard for a couple of reasons. It’s hard because children died. It’s also hard because one of our officers was here an hour before this call.”
Ernster explains a police officer had been called to the house for a welfare check at the request of a concerned family member from Tennessee. But the woman said she was OK and declined to call her family using the officer’s phone.
“He did speak with her and explained why he was there,” Ernster says. “She looked at him and said, ‘I’m OK. Tell them I’m OK.’”
Police say they had been at the home once before on a similar welfare check.
“They were just concerned about her welfare that she could be in danger, that type of call,” Ernster said. “Possibly involved a domestic type situation.”
Earlier in the evening, one neighbor expressed concern about safety in the area.
“I hear gunshots every night,” Nicholas Bakke said. “School is coming in a couple of days. We’re about to bring our kids on the bus, and it’s an uneasy feeling to be in a neighborhood where things like this are going on. Terrible.”
Bakke says many residents have established a phone tree to keep in touch in case of trouble.
“We all have each other’s numbers to keep it safe.” he said.
Ernster says investigators are also trying to learn if this was a domestic or stranger crime.
The medical examiner is expected to positively identify the victims and determine exact causes of death in the next few days, police say.