Delaware County law enforcement officials believe they’ve recovered the remains of all six family members who perished after Wednesday’s shooting and house fire in East Lansdowne.
“We’re going to be turning [the building] over to the East Lansdowne officials as soon as possible for destruction and to make that area safe. At this point, the investigation moves to the chief medical examiner of Delaware County,” said Delaware County District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer during Friday’s press conference.
On Thursday morning, investigators found the remains of three people, including a child, and located a firearm in the debris. On Friday, bodies of the three remaining family members were discovered. Stollsteimer deemed all of the bodies as “unrecognizable.”
He said Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Albert Chu is now working on body identification using a combination of dental and medical records.
“Then he’s going to try to determine the manner and cause of death. Our assumption is that they were shot by gunfire and then there was a fire set, but we have no idea whether or not that’s true,” Stollsteimer said.
Delaware County law enforcement agencies rushed to East Lansdowne on Wednesday after receiving a 911 call about a child being shot. The grandparents, who escaped the home, called 911, accusing their son of shooting their granddaughter, according to 6abc Action News.
Police arrived to gunfire. Shortly after, an occupant in the home set the building ablaze. Stollsteimer alleges 43-year-old Cahn Le, who died in the fire, is behind the death of his brother’s family and the shooting injuries of his niece and two responding officers.
He said investigators suspected Le early on because of information provided by two surviving family members.
The deceased family members include Xuong Le, 40, and his wife Britni McLaughlin-Le, 37, as well as their three children, NaKayla, NaTayla and Xavier.
“They have literally lost everything they have. They’ve lost everybody they loved and they lost their home and they’ve been trying to deal with that for the last couple of days,” Stollsteimer said of the surviving family members.
Stollsteimer said investigators have yet to determine a motive.
“If Mr. [Cahn] Le, who we believe to be the shooter — if the torso recovered with the firearm is
in fact him, the criminal investigation will be closed, because we will have found the person we believe at least killed one person in this home and probably killed all the others himself,” Stollsteimer said.
East Lansdowne Mayor Majovie Bland said the small, close-knit community is in pain.
“We are hurting and we are in pain and it’s time for us to come together and pool our resources to help our community and hopefully begin the healing process,” Bland said.
East Lansdowne Police Officer John Meehan, the second officer shot, will be released from the hospital later Friday.
State Sen. Jim Kearney, whose district includes East Lansdowne, released a statement Friday afternoon expressing sadness.
“Somehow, I feel that words will simply not be enough to account for the senseless loss of life, including innocent school-age children,” Kearney said. “This is a heart-wrenching tragedy that has left me and the entire Delaware County in shock and grief.”
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