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Five killed at San Francisco home believed to be from same family

March 23, 2012 |  3:18 pm

The home where five people were slain early Friday is in a neighborhood just feet from an expensive private high school and the city college, an area that one member of law enforcement called “very quiet.”

San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza confirmed that three women and two men, who are believed to be part of the same family, were found dead just before 8 a.m. Friday at 16 Howth St.

Although authorities have stopped short of calling the case a murder-suicide, they have been adamant that the crime is an isolated incident and there are no suspects at large.

“This does appear to be tragic incident that is specific to this address,” Esparza said. “There’s no danger to public safety.”

The suspects have not been named by authorities, but they say the victims appear to have been killed by gunfire.

Esparza confirmed that three of the five victims were first discovered by a female who may also be a family member. She immediately found a man dead in the foyer just inside the door. She then found two additional victims in the garage.

“Then she ran out of the house,” Esparza said. “It’s pretty traumatic.”

When authorities arrived, she discovered the other two victims in the back of the house. Esparza said he can’t remember another incident like this one during a decade on the force, particularly in such an area.

Louis DeRosa, 23, of San Francisco went to Lick-Wilmerding High School, which is on the corner of Howth and Ocean Avenue. DeRosa, a 2007 graduate, would often park his car on Howth and said students “never had any problems” in the area.

As a high performing private school, Lick-Wilmerding attracts students from across the Bay Area, many of whom pay thousands of dollars to attend. DeRosa said some students are given off-campus privileges and wander along Howth regularly.

“It’s not a super posh area, but there was also never any serious crime,” said DeRosa, who was first informed of the homicides by The Times. “I’m pretty shocked by the whole thing.”

Lick-Wilmerding Principal Eric Temple could not be immediately reached but earlier told the San Francisco Chronicle that the school had not been locked down and that there were no plans to evacuate.

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-- Matt Stevens

Twitter.com/mattstevenslat

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