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Alhambra Man Kills Wife, Boarder, Self, but Spares Daughter : Crime: Police break down door after hearing girl's screams. A teen-age son had already left for school.

December 12, 1991|VICKI TORRES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

While his 6-year-old daughter was present in the family home, an Alhambra man shot and killed his wife and a boarder before killing himself Wednesday morning, authorities said.

Alhambra police were summoned to the home on North Electric Avenue after a phone call from a neighbor who reported hearing gunshots shortly before 7:30 a.m.

The girl's screams from inside the home prompted officers to break down the front door. They found the 23-year-old male boarder dead in the entryway and the girl's parents dead in an upstairs bedroom.

A .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun was next to the father's body.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department investigators, called in to assist Alhambra police, believe the girl's father, 48, shot his 40-year-old wife after killing the boarder, then took his own life, said Sheriff's Lt. Frank Merriman.

"The little girl indicated there was an argument going on between the two of them," Merriman said, referring to the married couple. "But we don't know all the whys."

The names of the victims, all Asians, were withheld pending notification of relatives in Hong Kong and Singapore, authorities said.

The girl was taken to Alhambra police headquarters, where she was joined by a 16-year-old boy, the son of the slain woman, who also lived at home. The boy had left for classes at an Alhambra high school before the shootings, Merriman said.

Authorities said he and the girl will be placed together with relatives or friends of the slain couple, rather than in a foster home.

"They've already been traumatized enough," Merriman said.

According to investigators, Alhambra police were summoned to the two-story townhouse in the 200 block of North Electric Avenue when a next-door neighbor telephoned to report hearing three shots and screaming. While the neighbor was on the phone, a fourth shot was heard.

When officers arrived, they heard a fifth shot and the girl screaming for help, Merriman said. They kicked open the door and found the boarder dead from gunshot wounds in the back, chest and head.

The girl was downstairs unharmed, the lieutenant said. Officers carried her out before going upstairs to the master bedroom, where they found the couple dead, three feet apart on the floor. The woman had been shot in the chest and the man in the head.

Neighbors in the quiet residential neighborhood--a mix of well-kept homes and apartment complexes--said the couple had lived in the townhouse for several years. None knew the family well enough to comment further.

Documents in the home indicated that the dead woman, a native of Singapore, had been in the country since 1983, Merriman said.

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