A Chinese immigrant who neighbours said struggled to survive in America has admitted stabbing to death his cousin's wife and her four children in their New York City home with a butcher's knife.
Mingdong Chen, 25, said he carried out the killings in the Sunset Park, Brooklyn, neighbourhood, police said.
"They were cut and butchered with a kitchen knife," said chief of department Philip Banks.
Two girls, nine-year-old Linda Zhuo and Amy Zhuo, seven, were pronounced dead at the scene, along with the youngest child, William Zhuo, one. Their brother, Kevin Zhuo, five, and the children's 37-year-old mother, Qiao Zhen Li, were taken to hospital, where they also were pronounced dead.
Chen is a cousin of the children's father and had been staying at the home for the past week or so, Mr Banks said. He came to the United States from China in 2004 and seemingly struggled to make it.
"Ever since he came to this country, everybody seems to be doing better than him," Mr Banks said.
On Saturday night, Chen had apparently been acting in such a way that concerned Mrs Li, Mr Banks said. She tried to call her husband but could not reach him.
Mr Banks said Mrs Li called her mother-in-law in China, who was also unsuccessful in reaching her son. The mother-in-law contacted her daughter, who lives in the neighbourhood, Mr Banks said.
She and her husband came to the house and banged on the door, then called police. Officers in the area investigating another matter responded.
"It's a scene you'll never forget," Mr Banks said. The victims had wounds in their necks and torsos.
Chen faces five counts of murder and charges of assault on a police officer, which happened while he was being processed and resisting arrest, Mr Banks said.
Bob Madden, who lives nearby, was out walking his dog when he saw a man being escorted from the building by police. He was barefoot, wearing jeans, and "he was staring, he was expressionless".
Yuan Gao, a cousin of the mother, said the man had recently moved to the area and had been staying with different people.
Fire department spokesman Jim Long said emergency workers responded just before 11pm to an emergency call from a person stabbed at the address in Sunset Park, a working-class neighbourhood of adjoining two-storey brick buildings with a large Chinese community.
Neighbour May Chan told the Daily News it was "heartbreaking" to learn of the deaths.
"I always see (the kids) running around here," she said. "They run around by my garage playing. They run up and down screaming."