Denver police have been led to believe that the five bodies found after a local Bar & Grill burned down were the victims of murder.
Fero's Bar & Grill in Denver erupted in flames on Wednesday morning between 1:30 a.m. and 2 a.m. Denver Police Commander Ron Saunier has since said that the fire might have been set in order to cover up the homicides.
The bodies of four women and one man were found inside the scorched building, but police are not convinced that they were killed in the fire.
"The business has obviously been set on fire, an arson, I'm guessing, to mask the homicide that occurred inside," said Saunier during a televised briefing at the scene.
"There is just trauma, enough information to believe that we have a homicide that occurred here. They didn't perish in the fire," he continued.
No identifications of the five victims were immediately available, and pending autopsy reports will reveal the cause of the deaths.
"It's going to be a long, drawn-out investigation at this point," said Saunier.
Police did not go into detail on the state of the bodies and declined to say if it appeared as though they had been shot, according to Reuters.
"We're not sure the exact nature of the trauma," said Denver Police Chief Robert White, according to KMGH.
Denver Fire Department spokesman Lieutenant Phil Champagne said that inside the bar was "a pretty gruesome scene," according to Reuters. He also agreed that the five bodies had wounds that were "not consistent" with death by smoke inhalation or burns.
Fero's Bar, which is located in southeast Denver, was badly damaged but not totally destroyed.
Police are urging anyone who was at Fero's Bar on Tuesday night to contact authorities as police try to collect information about the victims as well as identify motives and suspects.
The case is being investigated as an arson-homicide, and as of Wednesday afternoon police did not have any suspects in the case yet.