Salt Lake City — Eight family members, five of them children, were found dead of gunshot wounds in a home in southern Utah on Wednesday, according to authorities who did not provide further details or a possible motive for the killings.
The victims were found when police conducted a welfare check at home, according to a statement from city officials in Enoch, a small town of about 8,000 people located 245 miles (394 kilometers) south of Salt Lake City.
Police said they did not detect any threat to the public.
Enoch City Superintendent Rob Dotson said the community has been sent reeling by news of the eight bodies and that the deceased — all members of one family — are well known in the southern Utah town.
“Many of us served with them in the church and community and went to school with these individuals,” Dotson said in a video statement Wednesday night.
“This community at this time is hurting. They feel the loss, they feel the pain and they have a lot of questions,” Dotson added, noting that officials planned to release more information as it becomes available and the police investigation progresses.
“We won’t know the mindsets and thoughts of the individuals who experienced this tragedy, but we can all pray that all of their families, neighbors and everyone will come to an understanding of what happened in this place, maybe within a day or two,” Dotson said, choking at some point.
Dotson said well-being checks based on calls to the police department like the one that led them to the house where the bodies were found are routine when individuals are not seen for long periods of time.
The five children attended schools in the Iron County School District, officials said in a letter sent to parents.
Enoch, off Interstate 15 in rural Utah, north of Cedar City and about 80 miles (128 kilometers) west of Bryce Canyon National Park, experienced major flooding in 2021 that caused damage to hundreds of homes.
Utah Gov. Spencer Cox offered his condolences in a tweet Wednesday night.
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