MURRAY, Utah – Police said they are investigating a double murder and a suicide that occurred Sunday morning in an apartment in Murray, and when officers arrived to respond to multiple reports of gun shots they saw three children in their pajamas running and screaming for help.
Police said a man shot and killed a woman and child before turning the gun on himself, and the incident occurred at the Vantana Courtyard Apartments on 224 East 6637 South.
"We heard a big bang, we didn't know what it was," witness Mariah McDermott said. "We didn't think anything of it, and we just thought someone had thrown something in the garbage."
Officers arrived at the scene at about 11:50 a.m. Sunday after several people reported hearing gun shots, and when they arrived they saw three young children running from the apartment unit while screaming for help and waving their hands in the air.
Witness Christian Nah said: "I felt kind of scared for them like, 'What are they doing? Are they in trouble or something?' But I was just like they are probably playing a game or something."
When Nah found out it wasn't a game, but a double murder, he feared for his own safety.
"I was really shocked, I was scared if something would happen to us," he said.
Police at the scene said there were six people inside the home when the fatal shooting occurred. They said they believe the man shot the woman first, then the child and finally himself. That’s when the three children ran outside.
“We went outside to take out the garbage and we saw a cop racing down the street and we saw two female girls and a male run outside in their pajamas yelling, ‘Help!’ at the cop, waving their hands saying they needed help and then the cop went to them and went inside the house,” McDermott said. "The police reaction, they were coming really fast and they were just trying to get into the house and get the kids safe and trying to get everyone and trying to figure out what happened."
Officer Kenny Bass, Murray Police Department, said the motivation is still being investigated.
“Right now we don’t know what took place between them, but everything surrounding it, being in a home with children and all that, seems to indicate some kind of domestic issue,” he said. “We just don’t know the relationship as of yet.”
The Utah Domestic Violence Coalition in Utah states free, confidential support and resources are available to those impacted by domestic violence. For details call 1-800-897-5465 or visit the coalition's website.
The names and ages of those involved have not yet been released, and police have not yet confirmed what, if any, relationship exists between the two victims and the gunman.
FOX 13 News does not generally cover incidents that appear to be a suicide unless there is a larger impact to the public, such as in the case of a double murder followed by a suicide.