|Two bodies were removed from 5820 Hartnell Road after gunshots were reported on Monday. Police also removed two children and an older relative, who were all unharmed. Police called the deaths "suspicious."|
Vernon RCMP are investigating two suspicious deaths in the quiet rural BX hills east of Vernon early Monday, possibly a murder-suicide.
At 1:40 a.m., police responded to a report of shots fired at a home on Hartnell Road and found two people deceased.
"Our first responding officers assisted two children and the adult relative out of the home to a vehicle," said Vernon RCMP spokesman Gord Molendyk.
"None of these three were harmed in this event."
The RCMP's South East District major crimes unit was called in and is working with the B.C. Coroners Service. The deaths are being treated as suspicious.
The names and even the genders of the deceased were not released by investigators until family is notified.
"We're in a small community and they want to be in touch with the family first before they hear it from media sources," explained Molendyk.
The phone call to police was made by a family member from inside the house, but Molendyk was not aware of any previous calls to police about the residents or residence. All five people in the single-storey home are related. Police do not have anyone in custody and say the public is not in any danger.
Neighbour Connar Huddart said he didn't hear the sounds of shots or police investigators overnight.
"I slept through it, I guess. It's right at the top of my driveway, a 15-second walk away, but we are up in the forest," the 19-year-old told The Daily Courier.
"I talked to the neighbour on the other side and he didn't hear anything either. But he's way tucked in the back in the forest."
Huddart met the man and wife and their two young children, both pre-schoolers, twice after they moved into the new home at the beginning of last summer.
"They might have been from Vancouver. They were pretty friendly, definitely. They had a couple of campfires, but they just kind of kept to themselves and quiet."
The news of the deaths next door was shocking and unexpected, he admitted. "It's crazy."
Two years ago almost to the day, the previous house on the rural property in the hills high above Vernon was destroyed by a fire that caused numerous explosions inside. A new home was built and sold to the couple.
Investigating officers are asking anyone who might have heard shots fired to call Vernon RCMP at 250-545-7171. Police expect to release further details today.