A man who called 911 on the night of April 28 screaming he found his family dead in a West Chester Twp. apartment has been charged with their murders.
Gurpreet Singh, 36, was arrested in Connecticut about 2 p.m. Tuesday and charged with four counts of aggravated murder. He was taken into custody without incident, according to West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog.
Singh is accused of the killing his wife, Shalinderjit Kaur, 39; his in-laws, Hakiakat Singh Pannag, 59, and Parmjit Kaur, 62; and his aunt by marriage, Amarjit Kaur, 58, at their apartment on Wyndtree. All died of gunshot wounds.
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“He was the initial 911 caller on the night of the homicides,” Herzog said. “This is a heinous crime that greatly impacted West Chester community and specifically the Sikh community. This has been a complex investigation with many hours invested from law enforcement around the world.”
Singh is being held in the New Haven County Jail awaiting extradition proceedings, and the case will be presented to a Butler County grand jury for consideration of indictment.
Butler County Prosecutor Michael Gmoser said the crime carries the possibility of the death penalty.
“This is a death penalty case with respect to the possible specifications. When you are charged with killing more than two people as in this case, that can result in a specification by the grand jury making it death penalty eligible,” Gmoser said during a press conference Tuesday at the West Chester Police department.
Neither the prosecutor nor police chief would elaborate on a motive for the homicides. They would also not say if evidence recovered from a pond at the apartment complex a day after the shootings is the murder weapon.
Herzog said there was no indication Tuesday that Singh was planning to leave the country, but he could not elaborate as to why Singh was in Connecticut. He said the couples’ children are safe.
The chief could not say if there were any additional suspects or persons of interest, but said, “West Chester is safe.”
Township trustees also attended the arrest announcement.
“West Chester community belongs to the people. We want to provide the best quality of life for the people,” said Trustee Lee Wong after the announcement. “We don’t want our residents to have to live in fear. This a safe community due to the professional service provided by men and women of the West Chester Police Department.”
Singh called 911 at 9:41 p.m. on Sunday, April 28, crying and screaming to dispatchers that he found four of his family members — including his wife — laying on the floor of their apartment. As he was talking with a dispatcher, the man also banged on doors and screamed for neighbors to help.
Eventually, he told the dispatcher his wife and other family members were all laying on the ground and bleeding from the head. He had just gotten home.
When police arrived, they saw smoke coming from burning food in the kitchen and two bodies in the living room, according to scanner traffic released Wednesday by police.
No one, according to the released audio, appeared to be alive.
On Monday and Tuesday following the deaths, West Chester detectives were searching inside and around the apartment, and a Bureau of Criminal Investigation dive team searched for evidence in a nearby pond.
The deaths of this Sikh family not only shocked the West Chester Twp. community, but their home country as well.
“We are totally in the dark,” Harbans Singh, Pannag’s brother, told the Indian news outlet Hindustan Times in the days after the shootings.
“Don’t know how it happened and who is behind it? I just know that I have lost my brother.”
Hakiakat Singh Pannag and Parmjit Kaur were scheduled to travel to Pannag’s home of Punjab during the week of the homicides.
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