Police say 33-year-old Robert Hodges is the one who left loved ones in need of light.
Neighbors called 911 to report a domestic violence incident at the family's residence. Shortly after that - while the police were en route to the home - another person called to report that the children were possibly dead.
Police and medical personnel rushed to the scene and attempted to save the children, aged 11, nine, and eight months, but to no avail - all three were declared dead at the scene of the crime.
Police have not revealed how the children were killed.
She said the grandparents have yet to speak to Hodges or his wife.
"Something like this is very disturbing", West Sacramento police Sgt. Roger Kinney said.
"The officers are absolutely impacted, along with the firefighters, and certainly the family, the neighbors", he said.
"Obviously, she's traumatized, and it's going to take some time to find out what's going on", Kinney said of the mother.
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He said she did not witness Hodges kill the children as it was initially reported.
He continued: "It's horrific and it's very hard to deal with". By the time police arrived at the home, Holdges had already fled.
Theresa Bustamante lives next to the apartment where the children were killed.
A makeshift memorial sprouted outside the family's second-floor apartment in a quiet, neatly maintained apartment complex with a gated driveway.
"We don't understand what happened, we really don't", she said.
About three hours later, two California Highway Patrol officers found him sitting in his vehicle parked on the shoulder of Interstate 80 about seven miles away. The children and their mother had not yet been officially identified on September 14, and their ages were not released yet by authorities. I was in my apartment the whole time.
Mai Vang, a member of the Sacramento City Unified School District board of trustees, thanked the WestSacramento community for the show of support, noting the presence of City Council members and school district officials, as well as the contingent of police officers who helped direct traffic. "Together, we grieve this loss", the release continued. "It just happened. It's so sad".
Micah Moreno, pastor of Southport Church, said his daughter attends Southport Elementary School.
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