A 63-year-old man has been charged with four counts of first-degree murder after allegedly shooting his wife and three daughters dead at their home in a Chicago suburb.
Maher Kassem allegedly shot and killed his wife Majeda Kassem, 53, his twin daughters Halema and Zahia Kassem, 25; and his youngest daughter Hanan Kassem, 24, after a verbal argument on Sunday morning.
He then called 911 at about 11.20am to report that someone had been shot inside the home, according to the Tinley Park Public Safety Department.
Officers responded to the home within minutes and found the four women deceased in a lower level of the home. Officers took Mr Kassem into custody after he made statements related to his involvement in the shooting.
Police also recovered the gun believed to have been used in the shooting and said on Monday that there was no further threat to the public.
The village of Tinley Park consists of roughly 55,000 people and is located around 30 miles southwest of Chicago, Illinois.
Tinley Park Police chief Tom Tilton told reporters that the force had not experienced an incident of such scale previously. He praised officers for their quick response, having arrived three minutes and thirty seconds after the call was dispatched.
“We want to make sure that our investigation and the activities that we take in connection with that investigation are as complete and efficient as they can possibly be,” he said.
Mr Tilton continued: “It’s troubling to come across that tragic loss of life, and it’s troubling to process and gather the evidence.
“It’s not something that you would think people would ordinarily want to do, but it has to be done, and we have to provide justice for our victims.”
Tinley Park mayor Michael Glotz said: “Words can’t describe how deeply saddened I am at this horrible tragedy. A mother and her three daughters are gone, murdered in an act of senseless domestic violence.
“The entire Tinley Park community is heartbroken at the loss of these four innocent women, and we grieve alongside the family, friends and neighbours who loved them. This is a difficult day and a stark reminder of how quickly domestic violence can escalate.”
Village manager Pat Carr told reporters: “This was a very traumatic scene for everybody involved and our focus is on the family and our first responders.”
Incidents such as this are classed as “domestic violence” when the incident occurs inside the home. Domestic violence expert Pam Kostecki, said that there was a 500 per cent increase in the chances of loss of life when a firearm was involved.
The family is known to be of Palestinian descent and is Muslim. However, the incident is currently not being treated as related to religion.
According to neighbours two adult sons also live in the home.