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Couple Shot in Apparent Suicide Pact


A 77-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man shot his wife to death as she lay next to him in bed, then took his own life in an apparent suicide pact, Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators said Saturday.

Relatives of Dennis Brooker and his wife, Margaret, 73, found the two lying side by side in their rambling house on Exultant Drive, where the couple had lived for about three years with a grandson. Each had been shot once in the head, detectives said.

Investigators found a .38-caliber handgun nearby and a handwritten note, addressed to the grandson. The note indicated that the couple had planned their deaths, though it did not reveal their motive, said Lt. Thomas Johnston.

"It was vague and suggestive rather than specific," Johnston said.

Though the note was not signed, Johnston added, it made references to "we," suggesting that the couple had acted in concert.

Investigators could not pinpoint the time of the deaths, saying only that they occurred sometime after 11 p.m. Friday. No one reported hearing gunshots, Johnston said.

The grandson and an uncle, neither of whose names were released by investigators, found the couple's bedroom door locked shortly before noon Saturday, Johnston said. Unable to awake the Brookers, they forced the door and found the bodies.

The positioning of the bodies indicated that Dennis Brooker had done the shooting, Johnston said.

Neighbors of the Brookers said that the husband was a sociable man who sometimes inquired about the health of passersby as he stood in front of the clapboard-front house with banana and mimosa trees and a well-tended lawn.

"He was friendly," said Roland Zupke, 22, a Washington State University student who lives across the street. "He asked me what kind of dog I had."

The grandson is a student at Palos Verdes Peninsula High School in Rolling Hills Estates, neighbors said.

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