California Dad in Family Killings Left Suicide Note Citing Loss of His, Wife's Jobs
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
A medical technician executed his wife, five young children and himself Tuesday after claiming in a note to a TV station that he and his wife both had just been fired.
The shocking killings underscored the psychological toll that the down economy may be taking on some unemployed workers, as police urged those facing tough times to seek help rather than resort to violence.
Police identified the man as Ervin Lupoe on Tuesday. They did not release the names of the children because family members have not yet been notified.
Police said the child victims were an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin 2-year-old boys.
Lupoe removed three of the children from school about a week and a half ago, saying the family was moving to Kansas, the school principal told KCAL-TV. Crescent Heights Elementary School Principal Cherise Pounders-Caver said nothing seemed to be troubling Lupoe at that time; she did not ask why the family was moving.
"No words can describe this tragedy. There is no way to comprehend this unspeakable act," Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told reporters on Tuesday. "I daresay that no one I know could understand what would drive anyone to take matters in to their own hands in such a lethal manner."
Police said they were alerted by KABC-TV that they had received a faxed letter from Lupoe indicating that he and his wife had been fired from their jobs at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center and intended to kill themselves and their children.
The hospital confirmed that Ervin Antonio Lupoe and his wife, Ana, also a medical technician, worked at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center West Los Angeles.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of the Lupoe family," it said in a statement.
Lupoe also called 911 and told dispatchers that he had found his family dead in their home, police said.
"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."
"He was going through some critical situation at the job, that's what he described in that two-page letter, ongoing problems at the job, and that's what prompted him to take his own life and his family, from what was said in the fax letter," Garner said.
Garner said a note was found in the home, but it was not clear if it was what had been faxed to the TV station.
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.
The bodies of the girls and the father were in one bedroom. The mother and boys were in another bedroom.
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."
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 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?"
"Obviously we're in the midst of an investigation. The police department is working on developing evidence on this and we'll know more about how and why this happens," Villaraigosa said.
"If you need assistance, if you're looking for a helping hand, know that we're ready with open arms and open hearts to guide you through this tough stretch to see that everyone emerges form this crisis with their livelihoods and their lives in tact," he said. "Unfortunately this has become an all too common story in the last few months."
This is the third mass slaying of a family in Southern California since fall.
On Dec. 24, Bruce Pardo, 45, dressed up as Santa Claus and 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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