Five members of the same family, including a 5-year-old girl, were slain Tuesday in northern Honduras, police said.

Honduran street gang members were suspected of killing the victims after they refused to pay extortions, police said.

The multiple crime was perpetrated before dawn in the Chamelecon neighborhood of San Pedro Sula, Honduras' second city.

The victims were attacked by suspected gang members who broke into the family's home.

Investigators suggest the killings were in retaliation for the family's refusal to pay what the gangs call a "war tax."

Honduras suffered 85.5 homicides for every 100,000 residents in 2012, compared with a global median rate of 8.8 murders per 100,000, the Violence Observatory at the National Autonomous University said in a study released in February.

Violence escalated sharply in the Central American nation in the wake of the June 2009 coup that ousted President Mel Zelaya, as political strife added to the carnage wrought by criminal gangs.

EFE