By Harriet McLeod
CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) - Six people, including two children, were shot to death in a South Carolina home on Tuesday in what police believe is a murder-suicide involving members of a family, authorities said.
Investigators in Greenwood County, where the shootings took place, did not immediately release the identity of the shooter.
Several children escaped the home before the shootings, NBC News reported.
Sergeant John Long, a spokesman for the sheriff's department in Greenwood County in northwest South Carolina, would not confirm that detail early on Wednesday.
Long said he would provide more information about the incident later in the day.
Officers rushed to the scene after a man phoned 911 emergency services shortly before 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) and said he was thinking of hurting himself, Long said.
"A male caller stated he needed a deputy because he was thinking about hurting himself and then disconnected the line," Long said.
When officers arrived, the SWAT team tried to encourage the caller to come out, but when he did not, they went inside the home and found six people dead, Long said.
"They tried to talk him out and they couldn't get anybody out and that's when the SWAT team went in" about an hour after deputies arrived, Long said.
Authorities did not release the names of the dead or the ages of the children.
"The situation, it just takes your heart," Greenwood County Sheriff Tony Davis told reporters. "It's just horrific."
(Reporting by Harriet McLeod; Writing by Sharon Bernstein and Colleen Jenkins; Editing by Chris Reese)