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Father kills his 3 children and an adult before killing himself in church shooting

A man in California killed his three children, a chaperone and himself with an automatic rifle at a Sacramento-area church during a supervised visit, authorities said.
/ Source: TODAY

A man in California shot and killed his three children, a chaperone and himself during a supervised meeting with his daughters at a church in Sacramento County on Monday night, police said.

The three girls were ages 9, 10 and 13, a Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told NBC affiliate KCRA.

The father, who was not identified by police on Monday, had a restraining order against him by the girls' mother, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said at a news conference Monday.

The shooting "is obviously behind anyone’s rational comprehension," Jones said.

The mother of the three girls was out of town and was notified about the tragic shooting on Monday night, Jones also said, and the other adult who was killed besides the gunman was a chaperone likely agreed upon by the mother and father and approved by the court.

"This is an unspeakable tragedy," Sacramento mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted. "It happens too often, and tonight it happened in our backyard. First thoughts are with the victims and their families. Same to the first responders who have to confront such a horrible scene."

"Another senseless act of gun violence in America — this time in our backyard," California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted. "In a church with kids inside. Absolutely devastating. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and their communities."

Law enforcement sources told NBC News the shooter used an AR-15-style semiautomatic rifle.

The shooting occurred at the Church in Sacramento in the Arden-Arcade area, according to KCRA. Sacramento County Sheriff’s Sgt. Rod Grassmann told NBC News that the gunfire started at about 5 p.m. Monday. A church worker heard the shots and called 911, the sheriff’s office said. The church did not immediately respond to NBC News' request for comment.

Multiple agencies, including the FBI, have joined in the ongoing investigation, Jones said at the news conference Monday.