Two women and a man were found fatally shot inside a Hacienda Heights home Wednesday in what investigators initially believed to be a murder-suicide.
The names of the dead women and man were not released pending positive identification and confirmation that family had been notified, Lt. Dave Dolson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau. He described all three as being between their 50s and 80s.
Neighbors described the victim as an elderly husband and wife who lived in the home, along with another family member they often cared for who suffered from Alzheimer’s.
A 9-1-1 call reporting a shooting just after 9 a.m. brought deputies to the home on Ladysmith Street at Flatstone Avenue, Capt. Tim Murakami said. Once they entered the home, deputies found the bodies of two women who had been fatally shot, as well wounded man.
“We believe we have a murder-suicide situation,” Dolson said, but added that the investigation remained in its early stages.
“Because it’s so early in the investigation, I don’t want to emphatically make that determination,” he said.
One of the women, who made use of a wheelchair, was found fatally shot in a bedroom, Dolson said. The other woman’s body was discovered the home’s living room.
The wounded man, who was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the shooting, was found in the backyard of the home, Dolson said.
Two guns — a shotgun and a handgun — were found near the wounded man, sheriff’s officials said.
There were no signs an intruder had been inside the home, and no outstanding suspects were being sought, Murakami said.
It appeared Wednesday that at least one 9-1-1 call reporting the shooting came from inside the home, Dolson said. The caller had a male voice, but it was unclear if it was the suspected shooter who placed the call.
A neighbor who identified himself only as Joe said he was awakened by arguing prior to the shooting.
“I heard arguing since 7 a.m.,” he said. “It was loud.” But he added he could not make out what was being said.
About two hours later, the neighbor said he heard what sounded like two gunshots.
Joe said he found it hard to believe his neighbor could be responsible for the deaths of his wife and the second woman, whom he described as the man’s daughter-in-law.
“I can’t imagine. The kindness that he had,” he said. “They were very good neighbors. They were a nice old couple.”
The couple remained active, and the husband could often be seen working in his garage, Joe said.
And every time Joe greeted his neighbor, he said the man had the same response: “Another beautiful day.”
Neighbors said the man and wife had lived in the home for five decades, and they were shocked to learn of the violence that unfolded inside their home early Wednesday.
“I can’t believe it,” said neighbor Julie Minjarez. “They were a nice family.”
Minjarez added that she walks by the home daily and has never seen any sign of trouble.
“They were very active people,” Minjarez said, adding that they often went on vacation in a motor home.
“They seemed outgoing and lively people.”
Tom Watts, a teacher at a local elementary school, noticed helicopters hovering over Hacienda Heights and went to check on his parents after learning there was an incident unfolding near their home.
He described the couple that lived in the home as “very friendly,” and “very talkative.”
“They enjoyed camping,” Watts added.
But in a conversation Watts said his father had with the man who lived at the home about three weeks ago, the man mentioned he was depressed.
Staff photos by Watchara Phomicinda
ANGELES NATIONAL FOREST — Officials are investigating the death of a man whose body was discovered inside a car parked along Angeles Crest Highway early Wednesday as a suicide.
The body was discovered about 10 a.m. inside a vehicle parked near mile marker 29.31 of Angeles Crest Highway north of La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Angela Shepherd said.
It initially appeared man had mixed chemicals to produce a poison inside the car, she said.
There were no initial signs of foul play, Shepherd said. The investigation was ongoing.
PASADENA — Police are investigating the death of a man who was found beneath the Colorado Street Bridge Thursday as a suicide, authorities said.
The dead man was a 51-year-old Chatsworth resident, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said.
The body was discovered shortly before 2 p.m., after a witness reported seeing the man apparently jump from the bridge, according to Pasadena police and county coroner’s officials said.
An autopsy was pending Friday, however the death was being investigated as a suicide.
SOUTH PASADENA — Police pulled a suicidal woman from a freeway overpass early Saturday, officials said.
The incident took place about 2:20 a.m. on the Fair Oaks Avenue bridge over the 110 Freeway, South Pasadena police Sgt. Tony Abdalla said.
“They received numerous 9-1-1 call of a female wearing black clothing attempting to jump off the 110 Freeway overpass,” the sergeant said.
Officers arrived and grabbed onto the 29-year-old woman and pulled her off the bridge, he said. She was taken for psychiatric evaluation.
A woman plummeted to her death Friday after apparently jumping from the Colorado Street Bridge, police said.
The incident was reported about 3:45 p.m. on the east side of the bridge, Pasadena police Lt. Diego Torres said.
The woman, estimated to be in her late 20s, was pronounced dead at the scene, he said.
The investigation was ongoing, however the death initially appeared to be a suicide, Torres said.
“There doesn’t seem to be any signs of foul play,” he said.
AZUSA – Three grieving siblings found dead inside their burning home faced eviction and apparently entered into a suicide pact following the death of their parents, officials and experts said.
George Alva, 53, Christine Alva, 47, and Barbara Alva, 49, all died after shooting themselves in the head, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner’s officials said.
Records show the house at 525 N. Dalton Ave. in Azusa went into foreclosure in June. Family friend Nola Dewester said the family faced eviction and expected to move out the day they died, she said.
George Alva died from a gunshot wound to the head. The two sisters both died from shotgun wounds to the head, coroner’s Lt. Fred Corral said.
ALTADENA — The previously mysterious death of a man found bound and on fire on an Altadena sidewalk in April has been ruled a suicide, coroner’s officials said Friday.
A passer-by first reported seeing the body of a man — later identified as 70-year-old transient Emmitt Lee Zinn — engulfed in flames on a sidewalk in the 2600 block of North Windsor Avenue about 6 a.m. April 15, according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s investigators.
Zinn’s legs were bound, and a ligature was found around one of his wrists, according to coroner’s officials.
An investigation by the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner determined Zinn’s death was a “suicide by thermal burns,” coroner’s Lt. Larry Dietz said.
After an autopsy failed to determine how Zinn died, further forensic tests on the body were ordered, a process that generally takes six to eight weeks. But it was more than five months before an official cause of death was determined.
Homicide detectives previously said their investigation hinged on the coroner’s findings. The detective working the case could not be reached for comment Friday.
Authorities described Zinn as a transient with ties to Pasadena. A search of Los Angeles County Superior Court records indicated he had no criminal convictions other than driving without a license and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia.
Residents of the neighborhood where the burning body was found did not report seeing or hearing anything unusual prior to the discovery.
AZUSA — The shooting death of a Baldwin Park man alongside San Gabriel Canyon Road in Azusa late Friday is being investigated as a suicide, authorities said.
Police received a report of a single gunshot near mile marker 1775 of San Gabriel Canyon Road, just within the city’s northern boundary, about 8:45 p.m., according to Azusa police Sgt. Andy Sutcliffe.
“(Officers) found a 55-year-old male Baldwin Park resident in the shrubs west of the roadway who had died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound,” Sutcliffe said.
Investigations by police detectives and coroner’s investigators into the death were ongoing.
PICO RIVERA – A man was struck and killed by a Metrolink train traveling southwest on tracks near the intersection of Whittier Boulevard and Grape Street at 9:16 a.m. Monday, according to sheriff’s officials.
An autopsy concluded the man’s death was a suicide, Los Angeles County Department of Coroner Assistant Chief of Operations Ed Winter said. “He stepped in front of the train.”
The Metrolink train was carrying 350 passenger and had departed Riverside en route to Los Angeles when the man was struck, Metrolink officials said. None of the passengers were hurt, they they were delayed for about three hours and were transferred to buses to finish their journey.