CLEVELAND — Police Chief Calvin D. Williams has confirmed four people are dead following an incident in Cleveland's Slavic Village neighborhood Tuesday morning.
The situation began when a man was found dead in an open field near the 3700 block of East 63rd St. around 8 a.m. Authorities say he was shot.
The Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner's Office has identified the victim as 35-year-old David Cousins Jr. A photo of Cousins is below.
As investigators canvased the area, Williams says they smelled smoke inside a nearby home and eventually forced their way inside. Once there, the bodies of two children and one adult woman were found as well. These deaths are apparently connected to the one in the field.
"How could you take an innocent life and then take two babies, just how, what monster would do that to a 3 and a 5-year-old," asks Family Friend and Community Activist, Jeanetta Price.
"The young mom was really outgoing, she would give you her last, the babies were just babies they were living life, she was a good mother to her children."
The landlord of the home, Anthony Dattilo, says Cousins lived in an upstairs unit and the woman and the two young children lived in separate house in the back.
"He came down, and I guess wrong place, wrong time and he got killed," Dattilo said in an interview with WKYC.
Police were unable to provide more details (including identities of the other victims), but confirm they have multiple "persons of interest" in the case and are working to track them down for questioning. Unspecified accelerates were also discovered, although the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner has yet to determine an official cause of death.
Meanwhile members of the faith community are going door-to-door in an effort to assist in the healing process.
"We're not doctors, we're not therapists, but we are here to listen and our concern is about this community, the people hurting here," explains Zion Hill Baptist Church Pastor, Reverend Jimmy Gates.
Anyone with information regarding possible suspects is asked to immediately call the Cleveland Division of Police's homicide unit at (216) 623-5464 or 911. Anonymous tips can also be given to Crime Stoppers of Cuyahoga County at (216) 252-7463.