The bodies of three people have been recovered after a Pennsylvania home went up in flames on Wednesday after a gunfight broke out that injured two police officers.
Six people were in the house at the time, all of whom are now believed to be dead.
While officials initially searched the house for the missing individuals, the mission has since turned into a ‘recovery operation’, according to Jack Stollsteimer, District Attorney of Delaware County.
Officials confirmed one of the bodies to be that of the shooter while another is believed to be a child.
In a subsequent update, Stollsteimer said that the Le family, which consisted of three adults and three children, lived at the home and are still unaccounted for.
As of Thursday morning, detectives found a rifle and a human torso at the scene. The remains will be transported to the medical examiner, who will try to determine the identities of the bodies.
Investigators believe they will continue to find bodies inside the burnt property as they continue the recovery operation. They also said the house was so damaged by the fire that the integrity of the walls was significantly compromised, to the point where they were concerned about them caving them.
Officials warned that it would take several days for them to go through the remains inside the home.
The incident, which took place at approximately 3:47 p.m. on Wednesday, began when police received a call about an 11-year-old being shot on a suburban street.
Two police officers arrived at the East Lansdowne home and were subsequently shot by an individual inside the home.
It’s currently unknown whether the gunman or the 11-year-old mentioned in the call was inside the house when it went up in flames.
The two injured officers were eventually dragged to safety by another team of officers, who shielded themselves with ballistic shields as the gunman continued to fire from inside the house.
The injured officers were later identified as 54-year-old David Schiazza and 44-year-old John Meehan, both of whom have been with their departments for over two decades.
Schiazza was shot in the leg while Meehan suffered a gunshot wound to the arm, which required surgery. The former has since been released while the latter is still receiving treatment.
Stollsteimer said in a news conference Wednesday that they are aware at least six individuals are still unaccounted for from the Le family and that there is a great possibility that they were inside the house when it burned down.
It is currently unknown when exactly the fire started. Firefighters were also unable to put out the blaze promptly due to there being an active shooter at the scene. As a result, the entire house burned down, with only the external walls remaining.
On Thursday, 74-year-old Huong Le told media outlets that he owned the burned home and that his two adult sons had resided on the property with his three grandchildren.
However, he doesn’t know anything about the shooting or the fire as he lives in a different area, though he visits the home often. He also wasn’t able to confirm whether or not there was any conflict between the occupants.