CALGARY - Police were investigating the deaths of three adults and two young children in a home in a quiet, upscale Calgary neighbourhood on Wednesday, as neighbours looked on in horror.
A one-year-old girl was found in the home unharmed. An officer, carrying the little girl in a blanket-draped baby-carrier, gently placed her inside a car which drove away to safety.
Police said the scene was so disturbing that five officers sought counselling.
Insp. Frank Reuser could barely contain his emotions as he briefed reporters as helicopters hovered overhead.
"We were called here by a couple who came to check on the occupants of the house," he said, choking back tears. "Our members found six people in the house - five deceased and one alive. The live person is an approximately one-year-old girl. The deceased persons are a four-and a six-year old and three people approximately 30 years of age."
Calgary Police homicide officers were investigating the deaths. Police would not call the crime a murder or a murder-suicide, but made it clear the public was in no danger.
Reuser would not reveal any details of the deaths other than to say "they were not natural" and that the bodies were found in various parts of the house. Police also said they have an idea of what happened but they have no suspects.
Officers could only take comfort that the little girl was spared.
"Most of you have children," Reuser said to reporters, his voice breaking. "What impact does it have on you? And you know very well what impact it has on us.
"She (the baby) is doing very well. She's doing a lot better than me."
Paul Lapointe, a spokesman for Calgary Emergency Medical Services, said when paramedics arrived at the house shortly after 10 a.m. one of them immediately took care of the girl while others checked the five bodies.
Finding the bodies of two children shook the team up, he said.
"Police and paramedics who were on scene will definitely get assessed because this is a pretty emotional thing when there's children involved," he said.
"We deal with people dying on a daily basis, but when there are children involved it's a different level."
A man who lives near the crime scene said the family has lived in the neighbourhood for some time.
"They were very normal, just extremely normal," said the man. "There was no sign of any trouble or anything."
Another neighbour reported he sometimes walked home from soccer practice with the mother and her two daughters.
"You know, they seemed liked normal, loving adults - parents. I just watched on the news that there were three adults found in the house. I just can't imagine who the third adult would be."
Other neighbours who have lived in the area for more than 30 years said they can't believe something like this would happen.