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Gunman Who Killed 3 at Senior Center Left Note

April 13, 2001|TONY PERRY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Police on Thursday said Eugene Molter, 68, the gunman who killed three people at a senior citizens apartment complex before committing suicide, was a loner who become enraged at his impending eviction and left behind a note warning "this is my day."

Police said Molter shot building manager Albert Carignan, 65, and his wife, Patricia Carignan, 60, at point-blank range and then shot fellow resident Ariel Ibarra, 72, through the door of Ibarra's 16th-floor apartment.

The Wednesday rampage with a 9-millimeter handgun took less than five minutes.

Police spokesman Lt. Gary Wedge said Molter was found in his 15th-floor apartment dead of a self-inflicted gunshot.

Wedge said Molter had no known relatives, listed no previous address when he moved into the Congregational Tower six years ago, and had a 1982 conviction for petty theft and shoplifting.

Molter, who lived in the apartment beneath Ibarra, allegedly tormented Ibarra for years by banging on the ceiling with a baseball bat. Other residents said Molter acted in a belligerent manner on numerous occasions.

Complaints from Ibarra and others led to Molter's eviction from the apartment, effective Thursday.

Wedge said Molter left a note that spoke ominously of something big that was about to happen in the apartment complex, which is run by a nearby church.

"His anger was the result of ongoing problems and the pending eviction," Wedge said.

A security camera filmed Molter carrying a bag under his arm as he approached Carignan, who was sweeping the building lobby floor. The film also shows Carignan being shot and then staggering away.

As police hunted for the gunman for nearly four hours, dozens of residents, some in wheelchairs, were evacuated in SWAT trucks. Wedge said the age and infirmity of many of the residents required police to be cautious in entering rooms during their search.

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