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Torrance Father Kills Daughter, Himself, Police Say

August 20, 1989|JAMES RAINEY | Times Staff Writer

A Torrance man telephoned police to turn himself in after shooting his daughter to death Saturday in a dispute over property ownership, then killed himself before police could reach his home to arrest him, authorities said.

Dominick Pepe, 63, and his daughter Cheryl Pepe, 43, both died at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.

Torrance police said the murder and suicide ended a bitter dispute over a house on Pacific Coast Highway that the father owned and his daughter has occupied for the last 10 years.

Needed to Sell House

Dominick Pepe and his wife, Viola, recently told their daughter that they had to sell the home, less than a mile from their own, said Torrance Police Sgt. Jack McDonald. Pepe, who formerly worked as a services officer in the Torrance Police Department and more recently was a salesman of vitamins and medications, needed to sell the house to cover mounting medical expenses, McDonald said.

But Cheryl Pepe did not want to move, prompting a family squabble, her mother reportedly told police.

Police said that at 9 a.m. Saturday, Cheryl Pepe's 18-year-old daughter, Valerie, heard what she thought was an intruder inside the home in the 4400 block of Pacific Coast Highway.

The teen-ager told police she heard two gunshots coming from her mother's bedroom and hid for a few moments, fearing that she would be attacked. When she went into the other room, she found her mother bleeding from wounds in the head and shoulder.

Telephones Police

Ten minutes later, Dominick Pepe telephoned police from his home on Paseo de Pablo in the Hollywood Riviera section of Torrance.

"He told officers on the phone that he would be waiting for the police," McDonald said. "He said, 'I'm not going anywhere.' "

By the time officers arrived, Pepe was slumped over in his car, with a single gunshot wound in his head. A gun lay at his side, McDonald said.

Both the homes were vacant after the morning of violence. Police said Valerie and Viola Pepe were staying with friends or relatives.

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