Six members of the same family, including three children, who were unaccounted for after a massive house fire and shooting in the Philadelphia suburb of East Lansdowne are now presumed dead, authorities said Thursday.
Two police officers — identified as 54-year-old David Schiazza and 44-year-old John Meehan — were also wounded by gunfire, but are currently in stable condition. They have each been with the East Lansdowne Police force for more than 20 years.
The incident began at around 3:45 p.m. Wednesday when Lansdowne Police received a call regarding the potential shooting of an 11-year-old girl in the home on Lewis Ave., Delaware County officials said. When officers arrived at the scene, a person inside the house opened fire, hitting one officer in the leg and the other in the arm.
About 15 minutes after the shooting, the home went up in flames.
The six people believed to be inside the house at the time are now presumed dead. They were all members of the Le Family, Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer said in a Thursday news conference.
At least three adults and three children ranging from elementary to high school age lived in the house, a source told NBC Philadelphia.
The victims’ identities have otherwise not been revealed, and authorities are not ruling out the possibility of finding more victims inside the home.
“These people’s bodies have been destroyed by fire, so we have to resort to dental records and other means to determine who’s who when we do find more bodies — assuming we do,” Stollsteimer said.
Investigators also found the “remains of a torso” of an unidentified person and a rifle inside the home, he added.
As of Thursday evening, it was unclear if a child was actually shot inside the house. Investigators have also not yet been able to determine how the fire was started or who the shooter was.
“One of the people inside the house may, in fact, have been the shooter, but we’re still in the process of trying to find out where everybody is inside that house … to figure out who may or may not have been the shooter,” Stollsteimer said, adding that he doesn’t know if “we’ll ever really be able to determine that.”