- Associated Press - Sunday, December 2, 2012

NORTHRIDGE, Calif. (AP) — The bodies of four people who had been shot to death were found face down Sunday outside a suburban Southern California home that apparently served as an unlicensed boarding house, authorities said.

Police were seeking a motive for the attacks at the property in the Los Angeles suburb of Northridge.

Lt. Terri Brinkmeyer said the victims were discovered around 4:30 a.m. PST (7:30 a.m. EST) Homicide detectives were at the scene collecting evidence at the house, which was blocked off by a large fence.

Cmdr. Andrew Smith told the Los Angeles Times that the gender and age of the victims were not immediately known because the bodies were face down and had not been moved, pending the arrival of a coroner’s team. Authorities said it too early to determine a motive or possible suspects.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mitchell Englander, who represents a section of the San Fernando Valley that includes Northridge, said that the large house appeared to be serving as some type of boarding house, with several residents possibly renting out separate rooms, some of which include their own kitchenettes and had separate entrances.

“It appears from the nature of things that this was an unlicensed boarding facility,” said Mr. Englander, who was at the crime scene Sunday and had spoken earlier with police.

But the neighborhood is in a mostly residential area and does not have a significant crime problem, he said.

“This is a very safe neighborhood. This type of thing doesn’t normally happen here,” he said.