After his wife requested a divorce, a man shot and killed his entire family of seven—including five children—before turning the pistol on himself, US officials said on Thursday.
After receiving calls from friends and family who were worried about the family, police in the small Utah town of Enoch City discovered eight dead, including one that belonged to a 4-year-old.
According to a spokeswoman, on Wednesday, police found three adults and five children dead inside a single-family home, all of whom looked to have been shot.
"Evidence suggests that the suspect took his own life after killing seven others in the home," the city said in a statement, identifying him as 42-year-old Michael Haight.
His wife, her mother, and the couple's five kids—two boys and three girls between the ages of four and 17—were all killed.
Geoffrey Chesnut, the mayor of Enoch, said that a marriage breakdown appeared to have preceded the shooting.
He informed reporters that it appeared from the court documents that the wife had filed the divorce petition on December 21.
Chesnut described Enoch as a small, close-knit community where everyone was well acquainted.
The Haights were his next-door neighbours, he said.
"My sons and their young children played in my yard."
Even though police said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the crime, an investigation into the multiple killings was still ongoing.
Police knew the family, according to Chief Jackson Ames.
He said, withholding further details, "We had been engaged in some investigations with this family a couple of years prior.
In the southwest of Utah, a small town called Enoch has a population of about 7,500. It is located approximately three and a half hours by car from Salt Lake City.
The state is well known as the home of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, whose adherents are commonly referred to as Mormons. This conservative Christian sect strongly emphasises family but has historically supported polygamy.
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