The West Chester Twp. community is still in shock over one of the deadliest homicide scenes in Butler County’s history, a township trustee said.
Four family members were shot to death Sunday night in an apartment on Wyndtree Drive, and West Chester police are still looking for the person responsible.
“We were definitely shocked,” said West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong. “I know the perpetrator will be caught.”
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Police officers found Hakiakat Singh Pannag, 59, and his wife, Parmjit Kaur, 62, in their apartment at 4562 Wyndtree Drive with their daughter, Shalinderjit Kaur, 39 and Parmjit Kaur’s sister, Amarjit Kaur, 58, at around 9:40 p.m. Sunday with gunshot wounds.
Sunday’s quadruple homicide is the single deadliest crime scene since Easter Sunday in 1975, when 11 members of the Ruppert family were killed by then-41-year-old James Ruppert. It also appears to be the deadliest single incident since 1991, when five people died in a motor vehicle crash in Madison Twp., according to the Butler County Coroner’s Office.
West Chester police on Thursday released body cam footage of three officers who first responded to the scene. In the three clips, each between 2 and 3 minutes long, officers are seen driving to the apartment complex and getting out of cruisers to run toward the building. The videos stop right before the officers enter the apartment.
They handcuff a man emerging from the building where the family was found after ordering him to lay on his stomach. That man was the 911 caller. He told police he came home to discover his family members, including his wife, laying on the ground and bleeding from the head.
Wong said investigators “are making good progress.”
“There’s nothing to be scared about,” said Wong. “Safety is our number one priority. It is a shock but this is not a hate crime, or any indication of gangs or terrorists. This is a different incident, and we’ll get to the bottom of it very soon.”
Wong couldn’t say any more about the case, but emphasized his confidence in the department’s ability to solve the case.
On Monday and Tuesday, investigators inside and around the apartment, and a Bureau of Criminal Investigation dive team searched for evidence. West Chester Police released a statement Wednesday saying investigators have “followed countless leads and gathered considerable evidence” with the help of community members and people who knew the victims.
Police have not yet identified as suspect, but township officials have repeatedly said “the homicides are not classified as hate crimes, nor are they random shootings.” Officials have not commented on why they believe the shootings are not random.
Two of the shooting victims, Hakiakat Singh Pannag and Parmjit Kaur, were set to arrive earlier this week in India to visit Pannag’s brother, according to the Hindustan Times.
“We are totally in the dark,” Harbans Singh, Pannag’s brother, told the Indian news outlet. “Don’t know how it happened and who is behind it? I just know that I have lost my brother.”