A retired Los Angeles police officer gunned down his estranged wife's boyfriend and then killed himself outside his former Simi Valley house Sunday morning while his children watched from an upstairs window, police said.
Jon Gregory Pearce, 39, shot Kirk James Krcmar, 37, of Simi Valley at least six times, said Simi Valley Police Lt. Robert Klamser. Pearce, who had moved out of state after he and his wife, Judy, separated 11 months ago, apparently died from a single gunshot wound to the head, Klamser said.
Pearce came to the house in the 1700 block of Colleen Avenue about 9:20 a.m. Sunday for a prearranged visit with his three children, Klamser said.
Krcmar was at the house when Pearce arrived, and they went outside and argued about Krcmar staying in the house, Klamser said. During the argument, Pearce went to his car, which was parked in front of the house, and grabbed a .357-caliber revolver and extra ammunition, Klamser said.
Pearce walked back to the house and shot Krcmar from a few feet away, witnesses said. Police said he then turned the gun on himself, firing one shot to the head. Krcmar's body was on the porch and Pearce's body was in the walkway a few feet away.
Jon and Judy Pearce's three children--two girls ages 8 and 4 and a boy age 2--saw part of the shootings from an upstairs window before their mother took them to the back yard for protection, Klamser said.
"I saw (Pearce) taking two shots," said Dean Kraft, a neighbor across the street who witnessed the shooting from his kitchen window. "He was crouched, and his arms were extended. I figured he was shooting Judy and the kids. . . . We knew they were having family problems."
Pearce retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 1990 because of stress resulting from a 1986 incident in which he shot and wounded the wrong suspect, said LAPD Sgt. Alan Sorkness. Pearce joined the department in December, 1983, police said.
According to reports in The Times, an Officer Jon Pearce, who was 33 at the time, shot a 71-year-old man who was chasing drug dealers from his southwest Los Angeles home with a shotgun in May, 1986. Police sources believe but could not verify that this was the same man who pulled the trigger Sunday in Simi Valley.
Police said Murphy Pierson was shot after he ignored repeated warnings to drop the weapon. Pierson's wife blamed his death a year later on complications from his wounds, and the city of Los Angeles settled a civil lawsuit with Pierson's family for $1.8 million in 1989, the second-highest amount in the city's history.
"(Pearce) was a quiet fellow, didn't say much," said a former next-door neighbor who asked not to be identified. The couple bought the two-story house nearly nine years ago, he said.
When Pearce and his wife decided to file for divorce about a year ago, he left Judy and their children in the Simi Valley house and moved out of state, neighbors said. Although Pearce was driving a car with Arkansas license plates Sunday, police said he had moved to Mountain Grove, Mo.
The couple, who had been married for 12 years, were in the final stages of their divorce, police said.
Judy Pearce began dating Krcmar a few months ago, and he often visited her at the house, said John Koteles, Krcmar's brother-in-law. "They were talking about getting married," Koteles said. "The whole family is in shock."
The two men knew about each other and may have met before Sunday, said a neighbor who asked not to be identified. "(Krcmar) knew he was in town since last week," he said. Pearce visited his wife every few months, but the couple had not resolved their differences.
"Kirk called me last night, he was asking me if (Pearce's) car was there because he wanted to see Judy. I said, 'I don't know, just stay away until he leaves,' " said the neighbor.
Autopsies for both men have been scheduled for this morning, authorities said.