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California and the West

Man Kills 2 in Search for Woman

Crime: Police say he sought 'wife or girlfriend.' The slain women, and a third who was hurt, may have refused to tell her whereabouts.

March 16, 1998|MICHAEL G. WAGNER and TINI TRAN and DAVAN MAHARAJ | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

ANAHEIM — A man enraged by a domestic dispute went on a violent rampage Sunday, killing two women and seriously injuring another because they apparently would not, or could not, tell him where to find the woman he was seeking, police said.

After shooting and killing the last victim in front of her two young sons, the 26-year-old man turned the gun on himself and died on her bedroom floor.

The woman's 5-year-old son then led his 3-year-old brother to a neighbor's apartment.

"Julio came here and hugged me, and said, 'My mommy has died. My uncle killed her,' " said a weeping Eugenia Nava, who lives above the family.

One stabbing victim, Guadalupe S. Villareal, 18, was in fair condition late Sunday night at UC Irvine Medical Center.

Details of what happened--and why--remained sketchy late Sunday. Two of the victims were related, said police Sgt. Joe Vargas, but detectives did not know Sunday evening exactly how. Neighbors said they believed that two of the victims were sisters of the woman the killer sought.

Neighbors of the victims said the man apparently had been searching for his wife or girlfriend for several days, and flew into a rage when the women did not tell him where to find her.

The chilling sequence of events began about 1 p.m. when the man--who was not immediately identified but is believed to have been a Los Angeles resident--showed up at an Anaheim apartment complex and confronted Villareal and another woman, a 23-year-old. Her name has not been released.

Neighbors said they heard shouts from the apartment, in the 300 block of North Brookhurst Street, and looked up to see people rushing out. Inside police found two women bleeding from stab wounds. The 23-year-old woman was dead on arrival at Martin Luther Hospital.

Six minutes after police entered the apartment, they received a report of a shooting several blocks away.

There, at the Sandpointe Cove apartment complex, in the 1200 block of North Dresden Street, police found the suspect and Marlene Guzman, 36, both dead from gunshot wounds.

Neighbors had seen the man's blue Honda hatchback parked outside the Sandpointe complex in recent days, and had watched him peer into the Guzman's windows, "like he was looking for something," said Helen Carrillo, the apartment manager.

Carrillo said she had been in the garage when she heard popping sounds. First came three in rapid succession, then two more.

"I didn't even think they were gunshots," she said. "It sounded like kids playing. Then another tenant passed by and said, 'That's gunfire.' "

Police struggled Sunday night to make sense of the violence.

"We don't know if it's a wife or girlfriend involved," said Vargas, but it appears that both Villareal and Guzman "have some blood relationship."

He added: "It just appears right now to be the result of a domestic dispute."

Vargas said the 23-year-old stabbing victim did not appear to be related to the other women.

He said police were sent to an address in Los Angeles to check for clues. It was not known Sunday night what--if anything--they had found.

The violence shocked friends and neighbors.

Ray Harb, 55, the proprietor of the Mercado Calimex near the North Brookhurst Street complex, said Villareal frequently bought groceries at his store. He called her "a beautiful young lady, not the type that would bother people."

Guzman lived in a tree-lined North Anaheim neighborhood of small homes and apartment buildings.

"I feel so bad," said Nava, covering her face as she wept softly on her living room couch. "She was like a sister to me. When I first arrived here, she was so kind. We always got along.

"She was very friendly, always happy," Nava added. "She never had problems with anyone. She was my only friend here."

Guzman and her husband, Julio Guzman Sr., natives of Chiapas, Mexico, had lived in the apartment complex for about five years with their sons, Julio, 5, and Bryan, 3, said Carillo, the manager. "They were a quiet family," he said.

Julio Sr. was away at the time of the shooting, but arrived home minutes later.

"He seemed dazed," Carrillo said.

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