January 27, 2009

Another suburban murder-suicide: Recently laid off man kills self, wife, and five kids in Southern California

So, which national publication, or national broadcast or cable news channel, will be the first to do the "trend story" about a possible rash of murder-suicides perpetrated by despondent, disgruntled gun-toting men going through job loss, divorce, bankcruptcy or all three?

As I write this, news continues to come out of Los Angeles about a 40-year-old X-ray technician, who in a "gruesome burst of anger after he and his wife lost their jobs," turned his two-story home into a tomb, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"Armed with a handgun, Ervin Antonio Lupoe evidently roamed room to room starting as early as Monday evening, fatally shooting his wife and five young children--including two sets of twins. Early Tuesday, Lupoe faxed a bitter, rambling two-page letter to a local television station blaming his employer for his actions. Though his wife and children were already dead, he also called the station threatening to kill his family, investigators believe. He followed this up with an incongruous call to police saying that he had returned home and that 'my whole family has been shot.' Before police and firefighters arrived, he turned the weapon on himself, authorities believe.

Amid record job losses and economic distress for millions of families, the
killings struck a chord.

"This was a financial- and job-related issue that led to the slayings,'
said Los Angeles Deputy Police Chief Kenneth Garner. "It's a grisly scene.' "

The Times further reports: Evidence was emerging Tuesday evening that Lupoe and his wife, Ana, a medical technician, had not been laid off from their jobs with Kaiser Permanente as part of any cost-cutting measure but had been fired from their jobs at Kaiser Permanente after an investigation into misconduct.

"The letter received at KABC-TV shortly after 8 a.m. said Lupoe and his wife had made a suicide pact. It referred to an investigation into employment misrepresentation in connection with a child care issue. (The probe involved allegations of fraud, according to sources familiar with the inquiry, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the inquiry was ongoing.) 'So after a horrendous ordeal,' the letter said, 'my wife felt it better to end our lives, and why leave our children in someone's else's hands. . . .' "

This murder-suicide prompted Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Tuesday to note the "perils and dangers" of the economic crisis.

Whether or not the economic crisis is actually leading to an increase in the number of murder-suicides statewide or nationally, Contra Costa County organizations that deal with domestic violence, child abuse, and suicide prevention report receiving an increasing number of calls for help from people who feel like they are at the end of their rope.

Crazy in Suburbia has previously reported on these local and statewide recent cases involving murder suicide, and also offered an analysis, based on expert studies, of common patterns present in domestic relationships or families that become vulnerable to such outbreaks of violence.

--On Sunday, January 10, Jason Montes of Concord fatally shot his young wife, Serena, before killing himself in his home. At the time, Jason and Serena's marriage was ending and, the previous summer, Jason had filed for bankruptcy.

--On Christmas Eve, Bruce Pardo, a laid-off aerospace engineer, finalized his acrimonious, expensive divorce by disguising himself in a Santa suit on Christmas Eve. He then burst into the suburban Southern California home of his former in-laws. They were in the midst of hosting a large holiday party for family and friends. He immediately shot and killed nine people, including his ex-wife and her parents, then set fire to the house before killing himself.

1 comment:

Mom's exhausted said...

Truly, very sad. Stress in tough economic times is a reality. Unfortunately, most people who need mental health care will never seek the help of doctors and therapists who could help.

I've known good people in despondent situations. There is hope and there can be a brighter future. I hope to see more community help for those in need.

Good reporting Soccer Mom, on a difficult story.