LAS VEGAS (AP) — A neighbor with a handgun shot a Las Vegas woman dead in her doorway and snatched her young son before a shot was heard and the bodies of the gunman and boy were found dead in the man's house two doors away, police said Friday.
The boy was under age 10, police Lt. Dan McGrath said.
The woman's daughter escaped to another neighbor's home to summon police.
"We get the call, 'My mom's been shot,'" McGrath told reporters on the street lined by stucco single-family homes with tile roofs just south of McCarran International Airport. He declined to say how old the girl was.
Patrol officers found a third child, a boy about 2 or 3 years old, unharmed in the house where the woman had been slain, McGrath said.
"We're trying to put this all together right now," he said. "It's unbelievable, it's tragic, it's gruesome to have a young child murdered."
McGrath said police tried unsuccessfully to contact the gunman before hearing at least one shot from his home.
SWAT officers entered the house and found the man dead of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound and a handgun near his body, McGrath said. The boy's body was also in the house. McGrath said police didn't fire any shots.
It wasn't immediately clear, McGrath said, whether the gunman took the boy alive to his home or shot him and carried his body after shooting the mother.
Names of those involved weren't immediately made public.
McGrath described the shooter as a man in his 40s who may have had a prior dispute with the woman he killed.
"Police have been here before," McGrath said. But said he would need to retrieve dispatch records to know if any prior dispute had documented in police reports.
A neighbor, Darron Alvarado, said he knew the family of the woman and boy who were slain, and knew the gunman by the name Joe. He said the man lived alone and did yard work for neighbors up and down the block.
"People let him in their backyards," Alvarado said. "He'd borrow tools whenever he pleased. That's how much they trusted him."
Before cutting the interview short, Alvarado, 22, said he had been on his day off from work and awoke to barking dogs and police evacuating the block.
McGrath said grief counselors were counseling family members and investigators were talking with neighbors and the first officers and paramedics to arrive to pin down the chain of events.