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S.F. home where 5 found dead a 'very violent crime scene'

March 24, 2012 |  4:20 pm

San Francisco police spent Saturday inside the home where where five people were found dead, but they have yet to release identities or reveal what exactly happened.

Although police have stopped short of calling the case a murder-suicide, they emphasized that the crime at 16 Howth St. was an isolated incident and that there are no suspects at large. Medical examiners are trying to determine how each person died, something officials said remains unclear.

The victims are believed to all be from one family, and at least two appear to have been killed by gunfire.

"It was a very violent crime scene," Lyn Tomioka, a San Francisco Police Department commander, told the San Francisco Chronicle.

But “there’s no danger to public safety,” San Francisco police spokesman Albie Esparza said in an interview with The Times.

Esparza said the bodies of the three women and two men were discovered about 7:45 a.m. Friday by a woman who may also be a family member.

Medical examiner's investigator Charles Cecil said the bodies had been transported to the examiner’s office by about 3:30 p.m. Friday. He said an examination probably would take place Monday and provided no additional details on the causes of death.

Esparza said authorities got a call from a woman with access to the house, which is feet away from an expensive private high school and the city college. Upon arrival, she found a man dead in the foyer just inside the door. She then found two additional bodies in the garage.

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

When authorities arrived, they discovered the other two bodies in the back of the house.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee weighed in Friday, calling the incident “a terrible tragedy.”

“As the San Francisco Police Department thoroughly investigates this incident, I extend, on behalf of the city, our support and sympathy to all family members and friends of the victims involved in this crime,” Lee said in a statement.

Esparza said he couldn’t remember another situation like this one during a decade on the force, particularly in this area, which he called “very quiet.” Lick-Wilmerding High School, a well-known private school, is near the house.


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