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Metro Digest

Local News in Brief : 3 Killed After Argument

December 29, 1987

A mother, her 21-year-old son and a boarder in their Long Beach home were killed in an attack that stemmed from an argument between the woman and her common-law husband, who was arrested on suspicion of murder, police said.

Wounded late Sunday evening in the shootings in the 100 block of East Platt Street was the son's girlfriend, a 17-year-old who talked her way past the assailant Monday morning and went to a hospital.

Long Beach police, who were contacted at 8:40 a.m., arrested Gerrard J. Oliver, 54, about an hour later, when he surrendered outside the house, Lt. Richard Ostling said. Oliver was booked at Long Beach City Jail for investigation of three counts of murder and one count of assault with a deadly weapon.

"We responded and there were two shots that came out at us," Ostling said. "A SWAT team was called, but the man surrendered before we had to move in."

The bodies of the victims were found in the front and rear bedrooms and kitchen of the house. They were identified by authorities as Bernice Simmons, 53, her son Michael, 21, and Jessie James Rattler, 24, who rented a room in the home.

A .30-caliber semi-automatic rifle believed used in the slayings also was recovered, Ostling said.

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