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6 bodies recovered from scene of Pa. housefire where family was slain

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Authorities say they have recovered the charred remains of six family members from a burned house near Philadelphia, five of whom are believed to have been slain by a relative who also died.

Delaware County, Pa., District Attorney Jack Stollsteimer on Friday confirmed the deaths and identities of six people who died in East Lansdowne earlier this week.

Two officers who initially responded to the scene on Wednesday were injured by gunfire.

Officials released the names of those who lived at the home as Canh Van Le, 42; Xuong Le, 40; Britni N. McLaughlin, 37; Natalya Le, 17; Nakayla Le, 13; and Xavier Le, 10.

However, official identification as well as the causes of death had yet to be determined by county's chief Medical Examiner.

"These are charred remains. They are unrecognizable human remains," Stollsteimer said. "Not only was there an intense fire, but the building collapsed on these folks as they were in there."

Following a preliminary investigation, police believe Canh Van Le killed his brother, Xuong, and Xuong's wife, McLaughlin, and their three children, but would have to wait until the conclusion of the autopsy to know whether the victims were shot before the fire started.

Authorities have not yet determined a motive for the shootings, while family members said they didn't see any signs of trouble before the massacre.

"He just went haywire," Stollsteimer said, while noting that the grandparents, Houng Le, 74, and Chin Le Le, 72, were spared as they were not in the house at the time of the episode.

Stollsteimer indicated that Chin Le Le fled the home as an argument between Canh Van Le and the 13-year-old girl intensified, and "the grandfather picked her up, and they ran to safety" and called police.

Neighbors in the quiet Philadelphia suburb said they heard as many as eight gunshots coming from inside the home.

Officers arrived before the fire started, but immediately faced gunfire that forced them to take cover. Police have not confirmed who fired the shots.

Responders had to use ballistic shields to extract the two wounded officers, who were released from the hospital after one was wounded in the leg and the other in the arm.

Meanwhile, the home went up in flames, causing the entire structure to collapse.

Due to the earlier gunfire, firefighters were ordered not to approach the home, allowing it to become fully engulfed before the flames mostly burned out later Wednesday evening.

Afterwards, police recovered the bodies believed to be the family, along with a melted rifle.

The surviving grandparents are devastated by what happened, Stollsteimer said.

"They have literally lost everything they had," he told reporters. "They lost everybody they love and they've lost their home."