A man was arrested after three children were found dead inside an apartment in West Sacramento Wednesday night, according to police.
Officers responded to the Timber Apartments off Jefferson Boulevard shortly before 9:30 p.m. following a domestic violence call, West Sacramento Police Department Sgt. Roger Kinney told KTLA sister station KTXL.
The call also indicated the possibility of deceased children in the residence, according to the Los Angeles Times.
When first responders arrived, they found the three children and immediately began to attempt life-saving measures on them, the Sacramento television station reported.
Those efforts were unsuccessful, and all three children were pronounced dead a short time later, according to police.
“Something like this is very disturbing,” Kinney told reporters, according to Sacramento television station KCRA. “The officers are absolutely impacted, along with the firefighters, and certainly the family, the neighbors — this call is going to have quite a bit of emotion. It’s horrific, and it’s very difficult to deal with.”
Police identified 33-year-old Robert Hodges as a suspect; he had already fled the scene by the time authorities arrived on scene, KTXL reported.
A few hours later, the suspect’s vehicle was spotted heading westbound on the 80 Freeway near El Camino by the California Highway Patrol. Hodges was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.
Hodges was identified by authorities as the father of the children; his wife was also at the residence when the triple homicide occurred, according to KTXL.
The woman had been a victim of domestic violence, but police would not elaborate on the extent of her injuries or provide additional details.
“This woman is absolutely traumatized, losing three children. I couldn’t even imagine,” Kinney said. “It’s very upsetting.”
One neighbor, who does not want to be identified, said she was sitting on her apartment stairs when she saw the mother run out in distress. The mother had been choked and Hodges was not far behind her.
The neighbor called 911 and tried to help the mother.
She says she went into the home to check on the children and found all three of them dead. The woman believes the children were suffocated.
“[Hodges seemed] very very disconnected and absent and very content. Just emotionless,” said the neighbor. “That was the work of a monster that’s not someone that’s here with us on earth.”
“We don’t understand what happened, we really don’t,” she told the Associated Press. “Everything appeared to be OK” between the two.
Other neighbors described the children as “happy-go-lucky” and said it didn’t seem like there was much out of the ordinary.
Police have not identified the victims, nor have they released the ages of the children. However, West Sacramento resident Irene Aiello said the two older children were 11 and 9, and the third child was born this past January.
The couple had been married for at least 12 years, she said.
A vigil is scheduled to be held Thursday at 7 p.m. at Southport Elementary School, located at 2747 Linden Road in West Sacramento, according to a statement from the mayor.
The Tribune Media Wire contributed to this report.