Four family members were found fatally shot in a home south of downtown New Orleans on Thursday in an apparent murder-suicide that authorities say may have been planned by one or both parents.
The family was discovered in a home in Harvey after a man called 911 around 7:50 a.m. local time and told authorities they would find four bodies at the home, Jefferson Parish Sheriff Joseph P. Lopinto III told reporters.
The parents were in a bedroom of the home, he said. It was not clear where the other two victims, a 20-year-old man and a 14-year-old boy, were located.
Their names have not been released as authorities try to notify next of kin, but Lopinto said the father was a former police officer. He did not disclose the agency where the man worked.
The 20-year-old appeared to be the biological son of the woman and the stepson of the man, the sheriff said. A sheriff's office spokesperson said Thursday they are still working to confirm the biological parents of the 14-year-old.
Lopinto added the couple appeared to be having financial difficulties, characterizing it as a “destitute situation.”
"The house is pretty deplorable inside itself, but there's some notes along with weapons that indicate it looks like it's going to be some type of murder-suicide, either by one or by two," he told reporters.
Lopinto said "some of the information could make me believe they decided to do this together, the parents" but did not elaborate, adding that the coroner's office will make the final determination.
He cautioned the sheriff's office is still investigating, saying: "I don't want to speculate too far because that may not be the case, but let us look into that."
There was "more than one weapon accessible," Lopinto said, but it's unclear what kind or how many may have been used.
The family also had a dog that was picked up by an animal shelter, he added.
A sheriff's office spokesperson declined to respond to additional questions from NBC News, citing the ongoing investigation.
Lopinto told reporters he was not aware of any prior 911 calls to the house.
The killings followed another murder-suicide in the area, at around 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday night, that appeared to have unfolded between two brothers who got into an argument, Lopinto said.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call 988 to reach the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or the threat of domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233), or go to www.thehotline.org for anonymous, confidential online chats, available in English and Spanish. Individual states often have their own domestic violence hotlines as well.
Advocates at the National Domestic Violence Hotline field calls from both survivors of domestic violence as well as individuals who are concerned that they may be abusive toward their partners.