A 27yearold Ukranian immigrant stabbed his pregnant wife to death on Monday and then drove to a home in a nearby suburb and killed four more relatives before fleeing with his 3yearold son, authorities said.
Nikolay Soltys was being sought for the slayings of his wife, aunt and uncle, and two young cousins, Sacramento County sheriff's Sgt. James Lewis said. He has no known criminal record.
At about 10.15pm, sheriff's deputies found Soltys' 1995 Nissan Altima in a Sacramento parking lot behind a home improvement store. The car was empty and authorities spent about two hours searching the area using helicopters and dogs, authorities said.
"He could be in the area or he could be in another vehicle," said sheriff's Lt. Steve Ahee. "We don't know."
Authorities divulged no motive, but said Soltys has a history of mental instability and domestic violence.
At least two of the victims stumbled outside after they were attacked and blood stains were clearly visible near the body of a 10yearold boy. Authorities said the crime scenes were gruesome.
"We want to get this guy off the streets as quickly as possible," Lewis said.
A national manhunt was under way and officers were posted at bus terminals and airports in the Sacramento area. Lewis said detectives also were investigating reports that Soltys was headed to Oregon and that he has relatives there.
"We will not rest until the coward responsible for this murderous rampage is apprehended and brought to justice," said Gov. Gray Davis, who ordered all available resources be provided to the Sacramento sheriff's department.
Soltys' 27yearold wife was stabbed at their home in North Highlands some time before 10am Monday. Authorities said she managed to stumble to a neighbor's doorway, where she collapsed. Neighbors called police.
The other victims a couple and their grandchildren, a 9yearold girl and the 10yearold boy were found a short time later at a duplex in Rancho Cordova, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away.
"It's really uncommon and it's alarming that he would be in such a fit of rage," Lewis said. "To carry that rage to a second scene, to a second location, really speaks to the amount of danger we're dealing with."
Soltys had been rejected by the Ukrainian army as mentally unfit before he moved to the United States, said Chaplain Frank Russell of the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, who counseled the family Monday. The couple had a history of domestic violence in Ukraine, he said.
His wife, several months pregnant, came reluctantly to the United States five months ago, the chaplain said. She was to start a new job Monday.
Sacramento, California's capital with 1.2 million people, is home to more than 50,000 immigrants from the former Soviet Union, mostly from Russia and Ukraine.Reuse content