DEARBORN HEIGHTS, MICH. - A man is in police custody after he asphyxiated his two young children in a car at their Dearborn Heights home, shot and killed his two stepchildren and slashed and shot his wife early Wednesday.
Dearborn Heights Police Lt. Michael Krause told the Free Press the father called 911 around 1 a.m., saying he had just killed his family at their home in the 4000 block of Hipp Street. When officers arrived, the man was standing on the front porch and he told them his family was inside dead.
Police Chief Lee Gavin said police quickly arrested the man and ran into the home to locate the children and his wife.
Krause said officers found the two older siblings, a 17-year-old female and 19-year-old male, bound and dead from obvious gunshot wounds in the basement. Their mother, who police believe is around 40 years old, was also found in the basement of the home with multiple injuries.
"She had gunshot wounds and slashing wounds from a knife to her face and throat area," Krause said. The woman was transported to Oakwood Hospital in critical condition, Krause said.
Officers checking other parts of the home then found a 4-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy dead in their beds in a bedroom. Police said it appears the two children died from "intentional carbon monoxide asphyxiation."
"They were asphyxiated in a car with a makeshift tailpipe hose that was redirected into the vehicle," Krause said. "And then they were taken from the car and back into their bedroom."
Krause said officers tried to revive the two young children and they were transported to Oakwood Hospital and pronounced dead.
Police are continuing to investigate a possible motive, but Krause said police believe the killings stem from some sort of marital issue. Court records show the wife filed for divorce in August.
Police said the two teens are the woman's children from a previous relationship, but the young boy and girl were his biological children, Krause said.
"We're being assisted by Michigan State Police evidence techs," Krause said. "We're conducting another part of the investigation which includes interviewing the suspect and looking into his background
According to state criminal history records, a Gregory Vicente Green, 49, whose home address on the 4400 block of Hipp Street is the same as the homicide scene, was convicted of second-degree murder in March 1992. He was sentenced to 15-25 years in prison.
On Sept. 1, he was issued a learner’s permit for a commercial driver’s license in Michigan, according to the Michigan Secretary of State’s Office.
Dearborn Heights Mayor Dan Paletko, speaking near the home, called the killings “a tragedy in every sense of the word.”
Multiple investigators remained at the home and could be seen removing several items. One of the teen's bodies was wheeled out of the home by police and the medical examiner's office, as neighbors watched in shock.
Neighbor Karen Radtke said she was "horrified and in shock" by the brutal attack.
"I'm just shocked," Radtke said. "This is a quiet neighborhood. This is a very extremely sad situation. I just don't know what provoked him. I woke up and saw police cars and flashing lights everywhere. I came outside and that's when I found out what happened. I'm just in total shock."
Radtke said she regularly saw the children playing outside with the family's dog. She said she recalls seeing the mother as well, but said the father worked long hours and was rarely home. Radtke said she saw the father last yesterday outside of his home cutting the grass.
"I'd see her out there once in awhile," she said. "But those kids, they were just normal kids. Just all playing. They had a little dog. The father? You'd never knew he was there until you saw his little car. It's just a shame this happened. How could he do something like this? To kill four kids who were just beginning their lives?"
Radtke and other neighbors said the family just had a birthday celebration last week for one of the youngest children, with balloons and ornaments decorating the house.
"A lot of of their friends and family were here," Radtke recalled. " Her family has to be so devastated. Let's hope she makes it. It's just so sad."
A neighbor who would only identify himself as Jeff, said his wife watched the scene unfold as the father came outside and stood on his porch after apparently killing his family.
"That guy wasn't right," the man said, adding he had a tense disagreement with him six months ago. "My wife woke me up and said that the police were outside. She saw him on the porch and she saw them take him away. I just can't believe it all happened. It had to be premeditated or something. To kill your own kids, I just cannot relate."
Neighbor Ronnie Jones said he found out what happened when his neighbor, who lives across the street, called him around 2 a.m., asking why so many police were outside.
"I went outside and someone told me, 'It's your neighbor. He just killed his whole family," Jones said. "I'm shocked. This never happens on this block. I'm shocked because they honestly just seemed like a regular family. They would have parties and they just had two or three picnic things this summer. I've lived here a long time and never saw anything like this."
Free Press staff writer Robert Allen contributed to this report.
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