Responding to a report of a shooting, officers discovered the bodies of a man, woman, 8-year-old girl, two 5-year-old twin girls and two 2-year-old twin boys, according to LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner.
Los Angeles Coroner Ed Winter said more information would be available Wednesday, but it appears some of the children were shot multiple times.
"(The father) was despondent, clearly, over his job situation," Garner said.
Authorities withheld the names of dead, pending notification of relatives, but a statement from the couple's employer, Kaiser Permanente, identified the man and woman as Ervin Antonio Lupoe, 40, and his wife, Ana:
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of the Lupoe family. Our sympathies are with all of their extended family and friends at this time. We are also providing resources and support to our employees who are affected by this tragedy. Ervin Antonio Lupoe and his wife Ana are former employees of
. We are cooperating with the Los Angeles Police Department which is investigating this case."
Photos of the family were posted on the family's Facebook page (see gallery, left).
Details of Suicide Note Revealed
Either before or after the slayings, the man faxed a two-page typewritten letter to KABC-TV and the police department's communications division, Garner said. The Burbank-based television station called police, Garner said.
"Obviously he wanted somebody to find the bodies," Garner said. "In the note, he clearly said he was going to kill himself, his wife and his kids."
KABC reported that the man claimed in the fax that a medical center 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 reported.
"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 says the couple worked as medical technicians at
. Police say they are trying to confirm if the hospital employed them.
Read the full note here.
"Today our worst fear was realized," Garner said. "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 KABC.
"Initially, there was some belief that he may have been laid off," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. "I'm informed by police that now it has been determined he was not laid off. He didn't have a job. Whether it was his own actions or not, he didn't have a job."
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."
Bodies Discovered in Home
The "grisly scene" was discovered shortly after 8 a.m. in the 1000 block of
"Like I said, I've been on the police department for 32 years and I've never seen anything like this, so I doubt if there's too many officers who have ever seen anything like this. So it's horrific. It's a tragedy," Garner said.
Garner said the bodies of the father and three girls were found in an upstairs bedroom at the front of the home. The bodies of the twin boys and wife were found in a back bedroom, Garner said.
"We're trying to get a timeline and understand exactly what was heard and when," Garner said. "When officers entered, they smelled gunshot residue. We're operating off the premise it happened within minutes before officers got here."
Garner said a revolver was found in the home, and the residence had not been ransacked.
All Signs Point to Murder-Suicide
Garner said he was not aware of any 911 calls placed by neighbors. A note was found inside the house, and police were working on the theory that the case was one of murder-suicide, but were following all leads.
"We don't want to have conjecture out there. We want to make sure that we absolutely know what happened and what the timeline is," Garner said. "(Murder-suicide) is the main possibility."
Garner urged people to take advantage of community assistance and hotline numbers if they are going through financial difficulties.
"That would be our hope -- that people would seek that guidance, seek that assistance rather than taking this route, which is not the way to go," Garner said. "It's clearly not the way to go."
The school-aged children had been attending
, but the parents took them out of school about a week and a half ago, saying the family was moving to
"No Words Can Describe This Tragedy"
At a Tuesday afternoon news conference, Villaraigosa said, "No words can describe this tragedy."
"There's no way to comprehend this unspeakable act," the mayor said at the crime scene.
Villaraigosa stressed that the city and county both offer services for people who have lost their jobs or are in need of mental health counseling.
"Whatever was the cause of the desperation that triggered this violence, there's help out there," Villaraigosa said. "We want the people of this city to know that there's help out there. ... There's nothing, no option so horrible that can make you do something as horrific as this."
City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who represents the area, echoed the mayor's comments and encouraged people who are struggling financially to seek help.
"No matter how desperate you are, no matter how frustrated you are, to think that this was the only answer, to take your whole family with you in death, is too much to understand," she said.
Do You Need Help?
Villaraigosa offered up a variety of city and county resources available to people who may be feeling pressure in light of the nation's current economic slump.
"Help is available, resources exist, job centers, foreclosure counselors and mental health professionals are ready to provide whatever services are necessary to get people on their feet and to keep families afloat," Villaraigosa said.
He cited a variety of hotlines and other resources. The city of
information line at 311 and the county information line at 211 or 800-339-6993 can also provide specific referrals.
Available resources include:
- Employment, city of Los Angeles WorkSource Centers, (213) 744-7211 or www.lacity.org/wib;
- Department of Mental Health, (800) 854-7771 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or dmh.lacounty.gov/dmh_hotline.asp;
, (877) 727-4747 (available 24 hours, 7 days) or www.suicide.org/hotlines/california-suicide-hotlines.html;
- Foreclosures, ACORN Housing, (213) 748-1345 (also helps evicted tenants), and Los Angeles Neighborhood Housing Services, (213) 381-2862, ext. 112.
Other Recent Mass Slayings in SoCal
This was the third mass slaying of a family in
On Dec. 24, Bruce Pardo, 45, dressed up as Santa Claus invaded a Christmas Eve party at his ex-wife's parents' home in suburban Covina, opened fire with a gun and set the house ablaze with racing fuel. Ex-wife Sylvia Pardo and eight relatives were fatally shot or burned. Pardo later killed himself.
In October, a 45-year-old unemployed financial manager despairing over extreme money problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and himself in their home in the Porter Ranch area of the
San Fernando Valley
Karthik Rajaram wrote in a suicide letter he felt the honorable choice was to kill himself and his family instead of just himself, police said.
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