Sarafina (right) and Samantha Revelus A man on a rampage fatally stabbed his 17-year-old sister, decapitated his five-year-old sister in front of a police officer and then headed toward his nine-year-old sister before officers shot him amid what their chief described as "a killing field."
There is no clear motive yet for the events that unfolded about 5 p.m. Saturday in this tony Boston suburb that is also home to Gov. Deval Patrick. But there is no doubt at the carnage wrought by 23-year-old Kerby Revelus against his three sisters in the two-family home they shared with their parents and grandmother.
Bianca was killed as a cake for her fifth birthday sat on the kitchen table. Sarafina, 9, dialled 911 and watched police shoot her brother as her elder sister, Samantha, lay dead on the floor.
Sarafina was hospitalized Sunday at the Boston Medical Center with defensive wounds to her hands and stab wounds in her abdomen and one of her legs.
"In policing, we see the raw human emotion every day, but to think that a human being could afflict such an atrocious, violent act on his own family is unbelievable," Milton police Chief Richard G. Wells Jr. told The Associated Press.
"When I walked up to the first officer (on the scene), I could see the whole story right in his face. This just told me that this was something very bad," Wells said.
Kerby Revelus had recently served jail time on a gun charge, Wells said, but the details would not be released until courts opened Monday. Police had been called to the same house in 2004 after a domestic violence report of Revelus allegedly punching one of the women living in the home, Wells said.
Saturday's attack came about 24 hours after Revelus had gotten into a fistfight with a man living next door, Wells said.
"Blows were exchanged," he said. "I don't know the cause of it, but we're confident that did happen. He had been agitated in the hours that followed that, going into the day and last night."
Investigators believe that Revelus targeted Samantha, a 17-year-old senior at Milton High School, and fatally stabbed her with a household knife while their grandmother was doing laundry in the basement. At the time, the children's parents were away; their mother is a nurse at a Boston hospital, Wells said.
Her identity, as well as that of the father, were not immediately available.
Sarafina, an elementary school student, called 911 just before 5 p.m. An officer on patrol in the neighbourhood arrived within a minute, Wells said, and could hear an altercation inside as he reached the second floor. The 911 operator tried to persuade Sarafina to open the door, but when she did not, the officer broke through.
"As the officer entered the door, he decapitated (Bianca) in front of him," said Wells. "He actually walked into a killing field. He walked into such carnage, as far as the atrocity of it, I've never seen it."
Within moments, four officers were inside and two of them shot Revelus as he tried to get to Sarafina, Wells said. He fell still clutching the knife.
Details about the number of shots and who killed Revelus were pending the outcome of an autopsy Sunday.
Jocelyn Ashley, 18, who attended Milton High with Samantha, told The Boston Globe that Kerby Revelus was "a loner," but Samantha was friendly and excited about the prom.
Milton High School Principal John Drottar said Samantha was a member of the poetry club and planned to attend college this fall.
"She was a wonderful young lady, a great student, and just a sweetheart of a kid," Drottar said.
A two-hour grief counselling session was held at the school Sunday afternoon and will be offered Monday to students and employees, he said.
The officers involved in the case were placed on administrative leave and were receiving counselling from the Boston Police Department stress unit, Wells said.