LAUDERDALE LAKES — Elizabeth Carter heard two gunshots outside her apartment Saturday. On Sunday morning, she said, blood seeped through her bedroom ceiling.
One or more killers had unleashed a massacre in the apartment above her, killing two women and a baby. Another baby was left unharmed to live amid the undiscovered carnage, possibly for a day.
"I believe they were all day there Saturday, because blood was leaking through to my house," said Carter, 72. "It takes a while for blood to leak through a ceiling, don't it?"
According to the Broward Sheriff's Office, the slaying victims were 6-month-old Carlton Stringer Jr., his mother, Natasha Plummer, 25; and their roommate, Octavia Barnett, 21.
Barnett's 11-month-old son was found unhurt inside the same apartment, Unit 208 of the 2750 Building of Somerset Condominiums, officials said. Detectives haven't said whether the surviving boy was near the bodies, or how long he was there unattended.
Authorities on Monday were still investigating the killings at Somerset, a sprawling gated community a few blocks southwest of West Oakland Park Boulevard and Northwest 31st Avenue.
"This is a heinous crime," said sheriff's spokeswoman Dani Moschella. "Someone killed two women and a beautiful baby boy."
Plummer and Barnett lived together, but weren't related, officials said. "The two girls were good friends to each other," Carter said.
About 2 a.m. Saturday, Carter woke up to gunshots at the green four-story building, she said. They were loud enough to have been directly above her bedroom, she said.
She looked outside around the parking lot but, hearing no additional noise, she went back to sleep. When she woke up again hours later, she thought of the gunshots, she said.
"But there was no police on Saturday," she said. "I pushed it aside."
Sunday morning, a man who knew the victims went to check on them, Moschella said. As soon as the man walked into the unit, "he knew something was amiss and called BSO immediately," she said.
As authorities investigated, they visited Carter's apartment to ask questions. That morning, she realized a crime had occurred in the unit above.
Carter's teenage granddaughter, who was in Carter's apartment at the time, was the first to see something dripping from her grandmother's bedroom ceiling to the carpet, Carter said. The girl showed it to her grandmother, and led a detective "back to the blood spot."
Carter and her granddaughter were immediately evacuated and not allowed to return until later that night, she said. The stains on the ceiling and carpet were still there Monday, so Carter planned to sleep in another bedroom, she said.
"The rent man said he'd be here later on to fix it," Carter said. "But the man said they couldn't cut a hole in it. They're going to have to scrape all this off and repaint it."
She continued: "First, the rent man said he has to go upstairs, because the carpet upstairs is still soaking wet. They're going to have to take all that carpet up and clean that out. That's before they can do anything down here."
Citing the open case, authorities haven't said how the victims were killed, or discussed whether there is a suspect. They also haven't said whether the victims, neither of whom had a criminal record, were targeted by someone they knew.
"I can assure you that BSO detectives are doing everything possible to find the person responsible," Moschella said.
Plummer's friend, Joya Norman, 23, of West Park, said she and Plummer graduated from Hallandale High School in 2006. Friendly and outgoing, Plummer "was always smiling and always had a joke," Norman said.
The victims' relatives couldn't be reached for comment despite phone calls to listed numbers.
At Somerset, Plummer and Barnett often were seen with their kids in strollers, neighbors said. Their children interacted with neighbors' kids, they said.
"For someone to take a child's life, that's crazy," said Dan Johnson, 18, a senior at Boyd Anderson High who lives on the third floor.
At a Broward court hearing Monday, Judge John D. Fry ordered that the Department of Children and Families find suitable relatives to care for the unhurt boy. That process was still under way Monday evening.
Authorities urge anyone with information about the killings to call Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-8477.