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Arleta Man Wounds Wife, Kills Himself After Argument

Crime: Woman, who is in critical condition, had reported abuse to police and then returned home to pack her bags.

September 07, 1998|JOSE CARDENAS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

ARLETA — A man died and his wife was hospitalized in critical condition Sunday after he shot her and then turned the gun on himself, police and fire officials said.

The shooting at the couple's home occurred several hours after the woman, 35, went to the police station to report that her husband, 40, had beaten her, said Lt. Rick Papke, of the Los Angeles Police Department Foothill Division.

Papke said the couple's names were not being released pending further investigation.

A neighbor, Bob Meredith, said arguments were frequently heard coming from the house in the 13800 block of Wingo Street where the couple lived with their two teenage sons and a teenage daughter.

"They were very unsettled," said Meredith, who lives across the street. "It's just been a nightmare the last two weeks."

Papke said the woman came into the Foothill Division station just before 10 a.m. to report the beating.

She asked officers to escort her home, so she could pack her clothes and move out.

When she and the officers got to the house, the husband was not there, Papke said. The woman packed and called the place she had arranged to stay, but was told not to arrive for three hours.

*

The woman told officers she would wait at home alone--and that she would be OK, Papke said. Before leaving, the officers took a domestic abuse report and gave her information about where to get help.

But at 12:45 p.m., officers received a shooting-in-progress call from the woman's house.

Meredith, who was working outside, said before the shooting he heard the usual arguing in the house. Then, two gunshots--which he initially mistook for backfires from a neighbor's car--rang out.

The couple's daughter ran out of the house and signaled him with her hands to call 911, Meredith said. One of the boys also came out and went to another neighbor's house.

*

A police helicopter and patrol officers arrived within three minutes after he called, Meredith said. As officers approached the house, a third shot was fired.

Rescuers found the man wounded in the head and barely breathing, said Brian Humphrey, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Fire Department.

The man was taken to Northridge Hospital Medical Center where he died of his injuries.

The woman--who was shot in the arm and torso--was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills in critical condition, Humphrey said.

The couple's children were being interviewed at the Foothill station and counseled by the LAPD's Crisis Response Team, Papke said.

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