Police identified the suspected gunman as 55-year-old Desmond John Moses at a news conference Saturday. Inglewood police later confirmed to Eyewitness News that an unidentified body had turned up in the rubble of a fire that destroyed the back house where Moses lived for 17 years. The family lives in the front house on the same property.
"We were unable to identify the body, so we're going to need a forensics team to make that identification," said Chief Mark Fronterotta with Inglewood police.
The shooting was reported at about 4 a.m. at the home in the 4900 block of 99th Street. The back house house was engulfed in flames an hour later, with a thick pillar of black smoke spilling out of the roof. Investigators say the suspect likely started the fire prior to the shooting.
Police say the 33-year-old father used his body to shield his children from gunfire. He and his 4-year-old son died from their injuries - the father suffered multiple gunshot wounds, and the boy suffered a single gunshot wound to the head. A 7-year-old girl was shot in the chest and a 6-year-old boy was shot in the pelvis; they were transported to UCLA Medical Center in critical but stable condition.
The children's 28-year-old mother was shot in both legs while carrying the 4-year-old away from the gunfire. The mother was transported to the hospital, where she was reported to be in critical but stable condition. Another child, an 8-year-old boy who was in the house at the time of the shooting, was not hurt.
The motive and circumstances leading up to the shooting remain unknown, although authorities say there appeared to have been an ongoing dispute between Moses and the family.
Police believe Moses may have barricaded himself inside the burned out home. SWAT officers were on scene with weapons drawn, trying to locate the suspect, who is considered armed and dangerous.
Fronterotta also considered the possibility that Moses may have escaped, describing him as a black male of Haitian descent in his mid 50s, about 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds.
Fronterotta said K-9 units were deployed to help track him down in case he is on the run. The chief said the suspect was wearing a painter's mask and a dark baseball cap at the time of the shooting. There were no details on the type of weapon used.
Fronterotta also said some power lines were downed as a result of the house fire, causing outages for 10 to 12 homes in the 4900 block of 99th Street. Also, five homes surrounding the scene were evacuated. An area high school was made available for shelter while the evacuation was under way.
Police set up a perimeter extending several blocks around the scene, with surrounding streets closed off for investigation.
Neighbors say they were jolted awake by the sound of gunfire. One resident said he heard six to 10 shots from two different kinds of guns.
Anyone with information is asked to call Inglewood police at (310) 412-5210.