updated 4/1/2004 4:18:40 PM ET 2004-04-01T21:18:40

Five people were tied up and beaten to death Thursday in a downtown Detroit house, but a 13-year-old girl escaped and alerted authorities.

A suspect was in custody, Deputy Police Chief Cara Best said. The victims were a 33-year-old woman, a 16-year-old boy and three girls ages 9 to 14.

Best would not say what weapon was used, only that police believed they had recovered it.

Dozens of people stood behind yellow police tape that blocked off the street in front of the house, a grayish bungalow in downtown Detroit. Trash was strewn in the street and in nearby vacant lots.

A group of five young women arrived on the scene and were taken aside by police. They then began weeping, moaning and yelling, “No!”

Thursday’s killings came amid a wave of violence that has swept the city since the beginning of the year. After a significantly reduced homicide rate in 2003, Detroit began the year averaging about a killing a day.

On Feb. 16, two police officers were gunned down during a routine traffic stop — shocking residents. On Sunday, a toddler was accidentally killed when a woman taking care of her handled a shotgun carelessly, police said. The woman was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

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