A single-story home on a quiet street in Lancaster became a scene of tragedy Sunday night when a father shot and killed his four children and their grandmother, authorities said.
Germarcus David, 29, was arrested on suspicion of murder Monday morning in connection with the killings, said Deputy Trina Schrader of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. He is being held in lieu of $2-million bail.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office on Tuesday charged David with five counts of murder and three counts of assault on a child causing death. He was expected to be arraigned later in the day.
Police responded to calls of an emergency at the home in the 3500 block of Garnet Lane around 10:30 p.m. Sunday, officials said.
When they arrived, they found four children — all age 12 or younger — and a woman in her 50s, all with gunshot wounds to their upper bodies.
All five were pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.
Prosecutors identified the children as Namyiah David, 11; Germarcus David Jr., 7; Kayden David, 2; and Noah David, 1. Their grandmother Ericka England, 51, also was killed.
Property records show the home where the bodies were found belongs to the suspect and Tyanna Brown.
David is a licensed security guard who has held three firearm permits since 2012, according to the California Bureau of Security and Investigative Services. His most recent permit, issued in August 2018, was listed as "cancelled" after it expired in August 2020, officials said.
Waki Jones said he has been working with the family for the last several years, regularly dropping the older children off at elementary school and day care. He first learned they had been killed when he came to pick them up Monday morning.
"Someone told me or I asked which house where the shooting was, and then I don't remember anything after that," Jones said when reached by phone. "They were just good kids."
He said that he did not know David well but that the two would sometimes talk about taking care of children. David recently promised to take the kids fishing, but Jones said the children told him the plans fell through.
Jones said he has been a day-care provider for several years and always treats children as if they were his own.
"To do this to the kids, it's cowardly. It's just unbelievable," he said.
On Monday, yellow caution tape blocked off Garnet Lane, where some sparse Christmas decorations dotted nearby lawns.
Angelo Beltran, who lives a few doors down from the house where the shooting took place, said she heard screaming late Sunday.
"We saw a woman screaming outside, and we don't know who she is, but she was yelling," Beltran said.
Grace Beltran, who lives in the same home, said she heard a woman yell, "My babies are gone."
Marco Estrada, 49, is staying with his niece five houses away and said he would sometimes walk his dog around the neighborhood and see a man sitting on the front porch of the house.
"He seemed nice, quiet. You wouldn't think much of him," Estrada said.
Times staff writer Alene Tchekmedyian contributed to this report.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.