Unidentified neighbors react to the news of a man who apparently killed his wife and five children before committing suicide in Wilmington, Calif. on Tuesday, authorities said.AP photo
LOS ANGELES — A father apparently distraught over job problems fatally shot his wife, five young children and himself at their harbor-area home Tuesday, authorities said.
Shortly before the killings, the man faxed a letter to a TV station claiming that he and his wife had been fired from jobs as medical technicians and she suggested they kill themselves and their children, too.
“Why leave the children to a stranger?” the man wrote, according to KABC-TV.
KABC reported that the man claimed in the fax that an administrator rebuffed them when they showed up to work, told them to file a union grievance and said, “You should have blown your brains out.”
The man wrote that they filed a grievance but nothing was done and two days later they were fired, KABC said.
“They did nothing to the manager who started such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years old with no place to go. So here we are,” the note said.
At the bottom of the note, the man wrote, “Oh lord, my God, is there no hope for a widow’s son?”
The note said the couple worked at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center, but police said they were trying to confirm that. A message seeking comment from the medical center was not immediately returned.
The family was not immediately identified. Police said the child victims were an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin 2-year-old boys. It was the third mass slaying of a family in Southern California since the fall.
“Today our worst fear was realized,” said Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. “It’s just not a solution. There’s just so many ways you find alternatives to doing something so horrific and drastic as this.”
Police described the fax but did not release the detail reported by the KABC.
Officers rushed to the two-story home in Wilmington, near the Port of Los Angeles, shortly before 8:30 a.m., apparently within minutes of the killings. Garner said the officers could still smell the gunshot residue.
Although the fax asserted that the woman was involved, police Lt. John Romero said, “It is apparent that the suspect in the murder is the male adult.”
The two-story home, much larger than its one-story neighbors, sits in front of a railroad track in Wilmington, a community about 18 miles south of downtown.