Home in Calif murder-suicide in foreclosure - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Home in Calif murder-suicide in foreclosure

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ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) — A man who shot his wife to death and critically wounded his 3-year-old son before killing himself had money troubles and the family home was in foreclosure, police said Tuesday.

Money problems — and marital troubles that may have stemmed from the man's financial situation — were being investigated as possible motives in Sunday night's shootings, said Sgt. Rick Martinez.

Foreclosure "could have been the issue," he said.

The 3-year-old boy, who hid behind a trash can in the backyard for more than 12 hours before he was rescued Monday morning, was in critical but stable condition Tuesday after being treated for at least three wounds to his hip, shoulder and torso, Martinez said.

The 54-year-old man shot his 39-year-old wife and tried to kill his two sons, police said. The 3-year-old was trapped in a corner of the backyard. A shot aimed at his 5-year-old brother missed. The boy was inside the house and the shot was fired through an open doorway, Martinez said.

The names of the family members were not released because their relatives had not been notified, Martinez said.

The home was purchased in 2001 with help from a loan backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, according to records obtained by The Orange County Register newspaper.

In 2007, the couple borrowed $462,000 from Countrywide Home Loans and began missing mortgage payments on that loan last year. The bank sent notice in March that the home could be sold at public auction on April 1. At the time, interest and other charges added to the main loan had pushed the debt on the mortgage to nearly $500,000, the newspaper reported.

The tragedy was discovered Monday when a co-worker of the father stopped by because the man had failed to show up for work.

The 5-year-old boy came to the door and told him that his parents had been shot. The co-worker's wife, who was waiting in a car, called 911, Martinez said.

Police originally said the 5-year-old called 911 but that was later found to be inaccurate, Martinez said.

When officers arrived, they found the female victim's body seated in a lawn chair and the man's body on the ground in the backyard.

A trail of blood led to the wounded 3-year-old.

A motorist reported hearing gunfire in the neighborhood Sunday night, but officers who responded were unable to find where the shots came from and left.

Ramon Maldonado, 48, who lives two doors away, said he worked with the father about two years ago at an auto repair shop.

"I used to drive with him every morning and he seemed pretty mellow," he said.

 

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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