A woman and four children were found shot to death in a west side home, and police were searching early Friday for the woman's husband, who fled the house on foot.
"It's probably one of the worst multiple shootings that I've seen in a long time," said Police Chief Michael McGrath. "I've seen a lot of previous ones, but this ranks right up there at the top."
Police SWAT, vice and gang units had swarmed on the two-family home after the Thursday night shootings on a tree-lined street of older, mostly two-story frame houses and some apartment buildings.
Police said there were two rental units in the house, and all the victims were killed in various rooms of the upstairs apartment, where they lived.
Deputy Chief Ed Tomba said the suspect being sought was married to the adult victim, and that the four children who were killed ranged in age from 3 to 14.
A police helicopter assisted in the search for the shooter and authorities were checking transit system buses.
"He's a danger to the community, so we're putting the pressure on to locate him," McGrath said. "The ideal thing is for this guy to turn himself in."
Outside the home, a man at a police blockade said he recognized the suspect in a police photo shown on television as the man who recently married his daughter. He said she lived on the street with her three children and with another of his daughters and that woman's twins.
"They told me both my daughters and my grandchildren are dead," said the man, Lamar Arnold, although it was not clear who had told him. "I don't want to talk about it; I just want to go to my grandson now. I want to see how he is, and that's all I care about now."
He said his newly married daughter had sent him an unusual cell phone text message at 7:47 p.m. saying "Call me, live your life, love it."
"Then I tried to call her about 12 times, and there never was an answer," he said.
The shootings happened around 8 p.m.