Some versions of this type of rifle, which is manufactured in several models by different companies--are legal in California and others are not. A 1989 state law outlawed the sale of AR-15s manufactured by Hartford, Conn.-based Colt Manufacturing Co. But the law allowed owners to keep the weapons if they legally acquired them before June 1, 1989, and registered them by Jan. 1, 1991.
Chris' mother, Pam, died in 1990 while his parents were in the process of divorcing. "She was my darling daughter for 40-some odd years," said her father, Ernest Reepmaker, who lives in Westlake Village.
"Five years ago they were the happiest family there could ever be," he said.
But Reepmaker said his daughter developed a "cocaine problem" and died of an overdose after the Gollys had separated.
Morales said Chris had "really been on edge the last couple of weeks. He's really been shaky."
Morales said the boy was doted on, even spoiled, by his father. Steven Golly had bought his only son a used Camaro and a Chevy pickup truck, she said.
But Steven Golly had grown increasingly frustrated by his son's behavior, Morales said. Besides his drug problem, Chris was a fan of so-called speed metal music, characterized by loud, grinding guitar riffs and fast-paced rhythms.
"His father reached a point of no return with Chris--he wanted to help him," she said. "He wanted his son to become a decent person again. At that point, when Steve could take no more, I think Chris saw it as his father didn't love him anymore."
In the last two years, the younger Golly began dressing and acting the part of a tough kid--ditching school, neglecting his studies and using drugs, friends and neighbors said.
Two of Chris' friends who stopped by the house Tuesday said the teen-ager was a daily drug user. He liked to drink beer and use pot, and, starting last summer, turned to methamphetamine, they said.
Hamilton, the daughter of a retired LAPD detective, started her police training eight months ago after working for 20 years as a North Hollywood nursery manager. She recently moved to a Thousand Oaks apartment after separating from her second husband, a firefighter.
At the hospital where Hamilton died, her father, Kenneth Brondell, spoke briefly to Chief Williams.
"You've lost a good one with Christy," Brondell told the chief.
Contributing to this story were Times staff writers Miguel Bustillo, Jack Cheevers, Chip Johnson, Ann W. O'Neill and Mack Reed, and special correspondent Thom Mrozek.
Scenario of a Shooting
Rookie LAPD Officer Christy Lynn Hamilton was shot and killed early Tuesday while responding to a domestic dispute in Northridge. During the five-hour ordeal the suspect and his father were killed. According to police, Steve Golly was shot by his son during an argument. Christopher Golly then shot Hamilton and shot and killed himself.
Five people, including suspect and his father, lived at the house.
Suspect fires at officers from behind brick wall.
Suspect shot 12 to 15 bullets into police cars.
At least two rounds are shot into Hamilton's car. One passes through driver's door, fatally wounding her.
The chain of events as described by police:
1. Neighbors report hearing shots about 1 a.m.
2. Call comes into LAPD's Devonshire Division at 1:18 a.m.
3. Three cars from Devonshire Division responding to radio call arrive at scene between 1:18 and 1:30 a.m.
4. Officers see woman on Amestoy Avenue walking toward them, waving her arms. Assuming house is mid-block, officers from first two cars leave their cars and approach her.
5. Christopher Golly fires shots from behind brick wall alongside house toward cars across the street.
6. Officer Hamilton, in third car, opens her door, gets out and crouches behind door. Bullet goes through door and enters her arm at edge of bulletproof vest.
7. Officers rush to aid Hamilton, realize she is badly wounded and move her to ambulance. She is rushed to Northridge Hospital Medical Center. She is pronounced dead an hour later.
8. Golly returns to house and as Hamilton is being moved, five or six more shots are heard from inside house.
9. Officers surround house and are unsuccessful at attempting to phone occupants.
10. SWAT team arrives.
11. Shortly before 6 a.m., team lobs tear-gas canisters into house. A few minutes later, team enters house and finds the bodies of Steven and Christopher Golly.
The weapon used in the killing of Hamilton is believed to have been an assault rifle similar to the Colt AR-15. Manufactured in various configurations by different companies, these weapons are civilian versions of the M-16, a popular assault rifle used by some U.S. military services.
* Weapon ban. The Colt version of the semiautomatic weapon was among a number of assault weapons banned by the state in 1989.
* Typical features: Most AR-15s have a .223-caliber round are are equipped with magazines capable of carrying between five and 20 rounds of ammunition.
* Collecting: The AR-15 has long been a favorite of collectors and gun enthusiasts since the M-16 was made popular in the Vietnam War.
\o7 Source: LAPD\f7
Researched by JULIE SHEER, TREVOR JOHNSTON and JILL BETTNER / Los Angeles Times