A call was made to the Banning Police Department about 12:40 p.m. saying the bodies of a man and two women were found in an apartment in the 100 block of Phillips Street between Ramsey and Williams streets.
The father of the male victim said that his 42-year-old son, Demetrius Earl Hunt, was involved in the drug trade and may have been killed by a rival gang.
"Unless you're an idiot, you don't go in and kill three people. So this was more like a vendetta, wanting to get rid of my son, get him out of the game," said Purvis Hunt.
Family and friends identified the female victims as being 33 and 57 years old.
A 2-year-old boy of two of the victims was initially thought to be missing, but he was found safe. Police found the boy bound and gagged in a converted closet. He was alert and was taken to the hospital to be checked out.
Neighbors said the three victims were the boy's parents and a family friend.
"They're callous, they're cold-blooded, in my opinion," Banning Police Chief Leonard Purvis said. "Truly, they have no thought for human life.
The grief-stricken family of the male victim tried to make sense of the killings as police tried to determine a motive.
"You're going to pay. My child never hurt anyone," said Purvis Hunt. "He did a lot of good. He helped people. Yes, maybe he broke the law by doing what he was doing, but he hurt no one."
Family members said they were aware of Demetrius Earl Hunt's illegal activities, but they never thought it would end in a triple homicide.
"You guys took him from seven grandkids. I don't know what I'm going to tell my oldest son," said Casmona Hunt, the victim's daughter. "I just want you guys to know that there will be justice served."
Police did not have a description of a suspect. Anyone with information was asked to call the Banning Police Department at (951) 922-3170.