SACRAMENTO -- City police are investigating the homicide of a 50-year-old man whose mutilated body was found in an apartment fire early Saturday.
The Sacramento County coroner's office identified the victim as Arun Kumar Singh.
Neighbors and friends of the victim's 23-year-old daugh- ter said the man's arms and legs had been cut off, and his chest was set on fire.
Police would not confirm that Singh was dismembered, saying only that there was "some mutilation," and said two set fires in the building were linked to the homicide.
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In a news release, police spokesman Sgt. Norm Leong said: "Detectives believe that the male was murdered. The cause of death and the motive for the murder has yet to be determined."
Erika Knight, 20, who lives in a unit upstairs at the apartment complex, made the gruesome discovery, with others in the building.
"I see the smoke coming out the door, a neighbor of mine opened the door, and we discovered his body was laying there and a heck of a lot of smoke. It was just a disaster," she said.
"The body was laying there burning," Knight said.
The Sacramento Fire Department arrived at the apartment complex in Del Paso Heights at 2:46 a.m. Police were called for assistance.
A second, small stairwell fire was reported while police and firefighters were on the scene.
"We believe both fires are arsons and are related to the homicide," said Leong. "Obviously, the big question is why," he said.
Knight and her sister, Rocshell Daughton, 21, as well as another neighbor and a maintenance worker, came out when the fire alarm went off.
"We didn't know it was that apartment. We just saw smoke coming out," said Daughton, who was visiting her sister.
The neighbor in the unit facing the fire kicked in the door and found the body, said Daughton.
"The man's chest was on fire, so we tried to get the fire extinguishers, but they weren't working, so the maintenance guy went to get the water hose and put the fire out," she said.
Singh didn't live in the apartment, but regularly visited his daughter, who lives there with her child, her roommate and the roommate's two children, Knight said.
Knight said the daughter was not at the apartment Friday night and that she called to notify the woman that her father was dead.
"I spoke to him a few times," Knight said of Singh. "He's cool, he's a sweet guy, he wouldn't harm anything or anybody."
She said Singh fixed radios and VCRs and cleaned apartments around the complex, even though "it was not his job."
"He visits his daughter, he visits his granddaughter, takes his granddaughter for walks. He's just a regular guy, and I don't understand why anybody would do something like that to him," Knight said.
Sacramento fire officials said sprinklers limited the damage to one apartment. There were no reported injuries to firefighters or the residents who entered the apartment.
Homicide detectives, crime scene investigators and arson investigators are gathering evidence, Leong said.