Three babies were among five people stabbed early Friday at an unlicensed day care center in New York by an employee who then tried to kill herself, officials said.
The victims – two girls and a boy, plus two adults – were in critical but stable condition Friday at local hospitals, New York police said.
The babies range in age from 3 days to 1 month, New York police Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes told reporters Friday.
The facility was used mostly by Chinese women who give birth and stay there before returning to China, a law enforcement source tells CNN.
Neighbors said it was frequented mostly by Chinese parents, but Koreans and African families were also seen there.
Nine babies, along with some of their parents, had been at the residence during the attack, New York police Assistant Chief Juanita Holmes said.
“There was one child with more serious injuries than the other two,” Holmes said. “At one point, we thought she might have been likely (to die), but, thank God, she was upgraded.”
The suspect also assaulted the 31-year-old father of one injured child and a 63-year-old woman who works at the facility, officials said.
The suspect, a 52-year-old woman employed at the center, was taken to a hospital after slashing her wrist, police said. She is in custody.
Two knives were recovered, police said.
The motive in the 3:45 a.m. Friday attack was unclear, police spokesman Lt. Thomas Antonetti said.
The red brick, multifamily house on a tree-lined street appeared to be used as a baby day care facility, though state officials said it was not licensed.
“We have seen some paperwork indicating that it is a day care,” Holmes said, adding the documents “indicated that they were a nursery.”
Part of building served as “living quarters,” she said.
But the site is not listed as the location of a licensed or regulated child care program with the New York State Office of Children and Family Services, agency spokeswoman Monica Mahaffey said in a statement.
“OCFS is saddened by this horrific situation and investigating it as a possible illegal operation,” she said.
State-regulated child care programs are prohibited from caring for infants younger than 6 weeks old unless they receive approval from the agency, the statement said.
“Any request must include physician medical approval and detail the extenuating circumstances necessitating such a request,” it said.
The city’s Buildings Department had received several complaints about the property, including the possibility it was being illegally used as a hotel, records show. But department inspectors were unable to gain access to the home on several occasions.
The city had received a complaint in 2011 about “screaming children” at the residence, Holmes said, noting that the call came to a city hotline.
Of the children present during Friday’s assault, five were girls and four were boys, she said.
CNN’s Miguel Marquez, Jamiel Lynch and Madeleine Thompson contributed to this report.