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Bodies ID'd as Shooter's Parents'

Crime: Police say corpses are kin of man whom officers killed amid Long Beach market rampage.

June 07, 2002|NANCY WRIDE | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The bodies found in the condo of the man who went on a murderous rampage in a Long Beach supermarket were those of his parents, whom he killed with a hammer more than two years ago, Long Beach police now say.

Antonio Pineiro, who was schizophrenic, sprinkled a white powdery substance--thought to be a drying agent--on the corpses after the couple were bludgeoned to death sometime around Mother's Day 2000, homicide Lt. Bill Blair said Thursday.

The powder has yet to be identified but the bodies, found in bed, were in advance stages of "mummification," Blair said. It was originally thought the bodies had been on the bed about a year.

Police also found several Polaroid photographs Pineiro took of the decomposed bodies that he dated "April 2001"--more than a year after their presumed deaths.

"The word 'macabre' doesn't do it justice," Blair said.

These and other details were released Thursday as police continued to investigate the May 30 shooting at Top Valu Market that left a checker and a girl, 8, dead. Pineiro wounded four others, including the girl's parents, before an officer fatally shot him.

Although it may never be known what triggered Pineiro's slaying of his parents and the market rampage, police said one event may have sparked last week's event. On April 22, the condo building's property-management firm notified tenants that it would be fumigating the building in early June, and inspections would be conducted to ensure that all occupants were out of the building.

Pineiro, 48, was born in Cuba and had been a dentist there before he immigrated to the United States with his mother, Maria Llufrio, 69, and stepfather, Antonio Oscar Llufrio, 68, in 1981. Pineiro was unable to pass the dental-accreditation exam that would have allowed him to practice in the United States, police said. They have found no job history but determined that Pineiro had received disability payments for mental illness from 1985 through 1991.

Property records show that he purchased the tiny two-bedroom condo in a 1950s-era Cedar Avenue building, which backs up to the market, in 1995.

Pineiro's parents received Social Security benefits until March 2001, when they were cut off because they failed to appear at the department for an interview. Blair said it was not clear if Pineiro had been cashing their checks after their deaths.

Focused on Mail, Market

Neighbors said Pineiro appeared to have no job or place to be; his daily routine was to check his mailbox, go to the market and not much else.

He was often seen lugging large quantities of groceries and three boxes of laundry detergent at a time up to his second-floor unit. He declined any request to help him haul the loads. In contrast, his parents were described as warm and friendly.

It was initially reported that there had been no complaints of unsavory events or smells emanating from the condo.

A spokeswoman for the city said the nuisance-abatement department visited the building at least twice on complaints of a foul odor, however, but could not locate its source.

Pineiro, though, made four complaints of his own. Police said that over four years he said he was a victim of a garage burglary, petty theft and malicious mischief.

Blair said some of those reports predated the presumed deaths of his parents, but some occurred after the killings.

He had no exact dates or details on whether officers visited Pineiro's condo.

Though his and other rooms were meticulously clean, his parents' bedroom, which overlooks the Top Valu parking lot, contained a blood-speckled hammer and the powdery substance around the room, Blair said.

Detectives also found a journal of rambling, nonsensical thoughts and musings by Pineiro, which indicated that he planned the grocery-store shooting and intended to kill people, according to Blair. Handwritten and typewritten notes stated: "The last day before the shooting, May 2002" and "The day of the shooting May 30, 2002, Top Valu."

Wrote About Santeria

Pineiro's writing also contained references to Santeria, a religion that blends Catholicism with West African culture and beliefs, Blair said.

There was no sign that his parents' deaths were related to religion, only indications that he held many Santeria beliefs, including a heavy emphasis on a world of spirits, the lieutenant said.

Blair said the scrawled writings revealed mental illness, but also a clear intent.

He said he suspects Pineiro realized that after two years, his crime would finally be discovered.

"He knew the day that he left his apartment," Blair said, "that he was going to go down to the market to shoot people."

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