Police in Texas say they believe a man killed five of his neighbours after an argument about him practice shooting with a semi-automatic weapon nearby.
The victims were all from Honduras, and included an eight-year-old child.
The incident occurred late on Friday night in the small town of Cleveland, San Jacinto County, Texas.
Among those killed were two women who were found lying on top of two surviving children, according to local Sheriff Greg Capers.
“In my opinion, they were actually trying to take care of the babies and keep them alive,” Capers told a local station KTRK. He added that all the victims had been shot “from the neck up, almost execution style, basically in the head”.
The suspect, believed to be Mexican, has been named as Francisco Oropez. He is still on the run and thought to be armed.
Investigators believe that the victims had asked Oropez, who it is thought had been drinking, to stop shooting as they were trying to put a baby to sleep.
According to Sheriff Capers, the man replied, “I’ll shoot out in my front yard, do what I want to in my own residence.”
After both parties returned to their houses, the gunman “topped off his magazine, and walked down his driveway… into the people’s house and started shooting,” Capers said.
A total of 10 people were at the property at the time. The adults were declared dead at the scene, and the eight-year-old died at a hospital.
Although it is thought the shooter has left the county, the sheriff’s office continued to urge residents to stay at home.
Neighbour Veronica Pineda said she heard the shooting, but that the sound of gunfire was a regular occurrence: “It’s normal, in this neighbourhood they’re always shooting. They’re always calling the cops and there’s nothing done for that.
“So yesterday I heard the shooting but I thought it was, like, a normal day. I never thought this was happening.”
The incident came days after nine people were injured at a shootingduring teenagers’ party in western Texas.
Two weeks ago four young people were shot dead during a 16th birthday party in Alabama.
Firearm incidents are the top cause of death for US children and teenagers, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.