A triple homicide investigation is underway after three men were found dead near a grave site in a Perris cemetery on Monday morning.
Deputies were called to the scene around 10:20 a.m. after the bodies were discovered at the Perris Valley Cemetery, located in the 900 block of North Perris Boulevard, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.
Witnesses reported seeing the bodies of the deceased individuals prior to deputies erecting a barrier to shield the grim scene from onlookers.
“One of them was hunched over, the other one was laying down and the other one looked like he … was wrapped up in a sleeping bag type,” Randy Rios told KTLA.
Another witness, Maria Miranda, recalled seeing two of the bodies on top of a grave.
“Very sad scene. Heartbreaking I guess, because it’s a cemetery, and it’s a place of mourning and remembrance, and you can across something like this, it’s unheard of,” she said.
A large law enforcement presence could be seen inside the cemetery through mid-afternoon video from the scene showed. Coroner’s officials were worked to remove the bodies from the scene, but two of them remained there after 6 p.m.
The cemetery has been temporarily closed as homicide detectives investigate, according to the department.
Authorities have not identified any of the individuals. It is also unclear how they died or if they died at the cemetery.
Officials described the killings as an isolated incident. But they’re also looking into whether they could be tied to two fatal shootings earlier this month in Perris, one at a local park and the other at an Arco gas station.
In a statement released Monday afternoon, Mayor Michael Vargas said he was “heartbroken by the horrific crimes that have taken place today.”
Vargas added that he has been in touch with law enforcement and was monitoring the latest developments.
“We are confident our Sheriff’s office will handle this situation in a swift and professional manner and see the individuals who committed these crimes held responsible for their actions,” the mayor wrote in the statement.
No additional information was immediately released.