An Anaheim Hills man shot and seriously injured his mother and brother Wednesday before killing himself as the family's house caught fire and burned, authorities said.
A 21-year-old sister of the gunman escaped unharmed through an upstairs window and was being questioned by police.
Police identified the dead man as Patrick Vang, 27; the names of the injured were not released. Authorities said he may have started the fire after shooting his relatives. Late Wednesday, the Orange County sheriff's bomb squad was called to the scene to investigate an object in the backyard, which authorities said may have been an explosive device.
A family argument appeared to have led to the shooting, said Anaheim police Sgt. Rick Martinez, but it was unknown what the dispute was about. Authorities said that the house -- in an upscale neighborhood in the 900 block of Hanlon Way -- was in foreclosure and had been sold the same morning.
According to police, the family's patriarch -- who neighbors said is a professional cook -- was not at work at the time of the shooting but was notified later.
"This is certainly a tragic turn of events for a family dispute to take," Martinez said. "The area this took place in -- it took a lot of neighbors by surprise. This is not the type of area [in which] you'd expect this to happen."
The incident began about 1:45 p.m., Martinez said, when police and fire officials received several 911 calls reporting a fire and shots heard at the address.
Winston Madrigal, 38, who was driving by at the time, said he saw billowing smoke, stopped his car and was the first to enter the house. What he found, he said, was disturbing: a man, apparently in his 20s, who appeared to be dead lying face up with blood around his head, and about 30 feet away an older woman -- also bloodied -- who appeared to be breathing.
"I couldn't think of going home knowing that this woman had died because I didn't get her out," said Madrigal, who says he dragged her to the front porch so she could be reached by paramedics.
Police said they couldn't confirm Madrigal's account. The woman, they said, was hospitalized with what authorities described as "life-threatening" wounds. Another man, believed to be her son, was in similar condition.
"Domestic disturbance, especially when it turns violent, is always shocking," said John Nicoletti, a spokesman for Anaheim who went to the scene.
The uninjured woman "never mentioned anything about her family," said Natalie Lasaca, 21, who described herself as a longtime friend. "They were really quiet."
Neighbors expressed shock over the shooting.
"Oh, my Lord, this is unbelievable," said Hilary Reidenbaugh, who lives across the street. "This is such a quiet, quiet neighborhood."
Residents said the family members kept mostly to themselves and had recently been seen painting and making improvements to their house.
Maria Sabol, a spokeswoman for the Anaheim Fire Department, said the house sustained "significant fire and smoke damage" to its lower floor, though she couldn't give a dollar amount.