Police: West Des Moines family all killed by gunshot wounds

Local News

WEST DES MOINES – Police are releasing more information related to the death investigation in the 900 block of 65th Street.

The West Des Moines Police Department has confirmed the deaths of four people inside the home. 44-year-old Chandrasekhar Sunkara, 41-year-old Lavanya Sunkara, a 15-year-old boy and a 10-year-old boy were pronounced dead at the scene. All four lived in the home.

Forensic autopsies were conducted Sunday at the State Medical Examiner’s Office, with the cause of death for all four to be gunshot wounds, according to police.

Lavanya Sunkara and the two boys’ manner of death has been ruled as homicide, and Chandrasekhar’s as suicide.

The Dallas County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that Chandrasekhar Sunkara was issued a permit to purchase weapons on April 22 after passing a state background check.

Dallas County is unable to determine whether or not Sunkara actually purchased a weapon, as the state does not have a registry.

Officials are working with surviving family members to provide support. Investigators are continuing to review evidence and conduct interviews.

Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Assistant Director Mitch Mortvedt says Chandrasekhar Sunkara worked in the Iowa Department of Public Safety’s Technology Services Bureau.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the Sunkaras,” Mortvedt said in a statement. 

Both of the boys were students in the Waukee Community School District.

Police say other family members, two adults and two children, were staying as guests. When the victims were discovered, one of the survivors ran outside looking for help. He found someone walking through the neighborhood and that person called 911.

“This tragedy will impact family, friends, co-workers, anyone that knew this family” said Sgt. Dan Wade with the West Des Moines Police Department. “We are continuing to work through this investigation. We will follow through until we have answered as many questions as the evidence allows. We are confident, though, that there is no continuing threat to the community.”

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