ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A mother, her 20-year-old son and a 10-year-old boy were among four people found shot to death late Thursday in a North County home in what police call a “gruesome” scene.
St. Louis County Police said Friday afternoon that they had determined the attacker was not among the dead and remains at large.
Relatives had asked police just before midnight Thursday to check on family members at the small one-story home in the 10400 block of Balmoral Drive. Relatives had last heard from the occupants on Wednesday night, St. Louis County Police Officer Benjamin Granda said.
Officers who entered the home with family members found “as gruesome a scene as you can imagine,” Granda said. All four victims were dead of apparent gunshot wounds.
On Friday night, police identified two of the victims as Patricia Steward, 56, and her son Joseph Corley, 20. They lived in the home where the bodies were found, police said.
The identities of the 10-year-old boy and the fourth victim, an 18-year-old male, have not been released. Police said they were waiting for positive identification and to notify next of kin.
Autopsies were being performed Friday afternoon, and more information will be released once they are completed, Granda said.
The three-bedroom home, near the corner of Balmoral Drive and Tay Road, is in an unincorporated area of north St. Louis County called Glasgow Village. The home was still cordoned off with yellow police tape hours after the bodies were discovered.
After the sun came up, onlookers consoled one another and gave updates to friends over their cellphones. A half dozen stood next to a street sign wrapped in the crime-scene tape. One woman cried out, then dropped to her knees, after hearing the news. “Why, why?” she wailed.
They watched from a yard away as workers carted the bodies out on gurneys.
Neighbor Beverly Smith, who has lived on Balmoral since 1982, said she didn’t know the people who lived in the home but said she had never known there to be any “commotion or trouble” at the small home with white siding.
“Very quiet,” she said.
About a month ago, the occupants parked a passenger bus, painted black, on the street in front of the home. It was known in the neighborhood as “the party bus.” It was taking up so much space on the street that residents complained, and it was removed.
A small crowd gathered outside the home for a quiet vigil Friday night. Some prayed and some sang spiritual songs.
Earnest Wills, a high school math teacher who said he taught two of the shooting victims, was among the mourners. He said he remembers that both of them were looking forward to life after school.
He said the killings were heartbreaking and frustrating, noting how frequently he sees students who have experienced trauma because of violence.
Wills said he reminds his students they can be great despite difficult circumstances.
“They have what it takes to be great,” he said. “They have what it takes to become better and then go back to where they came from and then help other brothers and sisters come out.”
Anyone with information is asked to call county police at 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-8477.
Ashley Lisenby of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.