HAGERSTOWN, Md. (AP) — A 5-year-old girl hid from quarreling adults and escaped unharmed from shots fired in a Maryland home that claimed the lives of her parents and infant brother, authorities said Thursday.
After hiding, the girl went to a neighbor's house in the subdivision and reported her mother, father and brother were all hurt, said Capt. Tim Clarke of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. He said authorities were investigating the deaths near New Market, west of Baltimore, as a case of murder and suicide.
Clarke said deputies who answered a call at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at a home found three dead from shots apparently fired from a handgun found at the scene. He said the girl was unhurt and is now in the care of child protective services.
The victims were identified by Clarke as Benyam Asefa, 40; Barbara Giomarelli, 42; and 3-month-old Samuel Asefa. The shootings took place in Lake Linganore, an unincorporated community about 40 miles west of Baltimore.
Clark said he didn't know of any suicide note. He said details of the shooting were sketchy because the surviving child is the only known witness. Investigators haven't determined a motive and aren't sure yet who fired the shots, he added.
"We're still trying to piece a timeline together," Clark said. "The problem is, we have a 5-year-old who is severely traumatized, so we're trying to limit the amount of discussion we have with her." Clark said the bodies have been sent to the state medical examiner's office in Baltimore for autopsies. He also said investigators hope to learn more after Giomarelli's family members arrive Friday from Italy, where they live.
The Frederick News-Post reported that the sheriff's office had not previously handled any trouble calls from the home.