The house fire that claimed the lives of a mother and her four children in Staten Island's Port Richmond section yesterday morning may have been arson—and police suspect it was a murder-suicide committed by the eldest child. The Staten Island Advance reports, "Police believe 14-year-old C.J. Jones slit the throats of his sisters, 7-year-old Melonie and 10-year-old Brittney, torched his family’s apartment on the second floor of 302 Nicholas Ave., then ran a razor across his own throat."

The fire, which eventually went to three alarms, not only burned C.J. and his sisters, but also killed his 2-year-old brother Jermaine and 32-year-old mother Leisa as well (heartbreaking pictures of the children here). It's unclear if Jeramine's or Leisa Jones' throats were slashed, because they were so badly burned. According to the Advance, during the investigation yesterday, officials, who were examining whether it was arson, found "C.J. was found slumped over a bed in a back bedroom, his throat also slit, Paul Browne, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, told reporters yesterday. A straight razor was discovered underneath the boy’s body."

Two police officers who had been on patrol a few blocks away smelled the smoke and knocked on residents' doors—many residents credit the cops for saving their lives. But the flames were too intense for the cops to reach the Jones home.

The Post reports that one neighbor recalled C.J. playing with matches, while another "said CJ was a quiet boy who often was responsible for caring for his siblings by himself. He never had any friends visit his home." But apparently he had been suspended from school recently for fighting and was kicked out of a public pool for setting a fire there. A family friend told the Daily News, "You'd think only a monster could do this, not a little boy... He was a troublemaker when he was younger but we thought he grew out of that. He was the man of the house. I don't know why he did this, he must have been going through something no one could see."

Leisa Jones was a cosmetology student, and the admissions director at her school once noticed how C.J. wasn't smiling, "I said, 'Hey, why won't you smile?' He wouldn't look at me. He was very quiet. So serious." But the boy's grandmother Marcia Anderson told the Post, "I don't believe it. We don't buy that. Nothing about my grandson is a murderer." Still, another family friend said Leisa Jones was "stressing out" because of his issues.