Family members have confirmed the death of six relatives after a house was set ablaze in East Lansdowne, Pennsylvania. Authorities have recovered the charred bodies of the family.
On the day of the incident, Police responded to a distress call from the residence about an 11-year-old who was shot. Lansdowne officers David Schiazza, 54, and John Meehan, 44, arrived at the home at 3:45 pm and immediately came under gunfire from a lone shooter.
The shooter hit Meehan in the arm and Schiazza in the leg. The shooter then retreated into the home and never came out. A few minutes later, someone started a fire from inside the house.
More police officers arrived at the scene to help the two police officers while the flames engulfed the house. Thick masses of black smoke billowed into the air as police cars, fire trucks, and reporters littered the area. A Delaware County District Attorney’s Office official told newsmen that the two officers were stable.
Initially, Policemen weren’t sure about the number of occupants in the house when the fire started. But District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer could guess.
“We know the victim’s family had a lot of people living in that house, including children. We are aware that there were at least six to eight people who were unaccounted for from that family,” he said.
But a few days after the incident, family members confirmed the house’s occupants. The grandparents of the victims have told police that the shooter was Cahn Le. They also believe that he killed his niece as well as other members of the family.
Preliminary investigation indicates that the perpetrator shot the victims with a rifle. The suspect then set the house ablaze.
Authorities have also disclosed that the six occupants included three adults and three children. All of them belong to the Le family. The family consisted of the father, Xuong Le, 40, Britni McLaughlin-Le, 37, the mother, and three children. The perpetrator was Xuong’s brother.
The McLaughlin family released a statement describing the family. “Britni and Xuoug were a happily married couple for 17 years, loving and devoted parents to their three children, their extended family, and their beloved friends,” it read.
The statement identified the three children as Natalya, Nakayla, and Xavier. They were aged 17, 13, and 10, respectively. “all excelled in academics, the arts, and sports,” said the family.
“Our hearts are broken, and we vow to cherish the memories of our loved ones, and we will work to ensure that their legacies live on,” the statement also read.
Police officers have yet to fully understand what transpired in the home. But they believe the distress call came from a family member who wasn’t in the house.
Neighbors described the chaotic scene during the incident. “It was very scary, it was very scary. My whole house was surrounded by police officers,” said Derrick Richardson, who shot a cell phone video of the scene. “Everybody had their guns drawn. Long rifles and the gunshots,” he added.
The East Lansdowne community is still in shock from the incident. Residents are waiting to hear from the police about the cause of the deaths.
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