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Man kills 2, jumps off bridge

His girlfriend, who had a restraining order against him, is stabbed along with her mother in Tujunga.

January 11, 2008|Richard Winton and Greg Krikorian | Times Staff Writers

Damaris Quiles and her boyfriend, Walter Garcia, lived together for six years and had been a couple for longer than that. They also had a son, Joshua, whom they both adored.

But in recent months their relationship had grown rocky. When the fights got really bad about three weeks ago, Quiles asked her boyfriend to leave. When he started threatening her, she obtained a restraining order.

The order did little good.

On Thursday morning, Garcia stabbed the 35-year-old Quiles to death, along with her 73-year-old mother, Carmen, outside the neat stucco home they shared in Tujunga. Minutes later, Garcia, 38, jumped to his death from Pasadena's historic Colorado Street Bridge, a span infamous for suicides.

"It has not sunk in yet," Quiles' older brother, Edwin, said Thursday afternoon, sitting in the living room of his sister's home, its stillness filled with photographs of the family.

The bloody attack, according to Edwin Quiles and Los Angeles police, occurred about 8:45 a.m. in the 6800 block of Quinton Lane. Damaris Quiles had just returned home from dropping off 6-year-old Joshua at school. When she walked into the house, she found Garcia, who had broken in through a back window.

A fight ensued and the couple argued on the street as anxious neighbors called police and Quiles' brother.

By the time they arrived, Garcia was gone and both women had been mortally wounded.

The older woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Quiles, a dispatcher with the city of Los Angeles' General Services Department, was taken to Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, where she died, authorities said.

Fearing that Garcia might attempt to abduct the boy, police contacted Mountain View Elementary School, and it was placed on lockdown until police arrived.

Garcia, meanwhile, drove to Pasadena. Shortly after 9 a.m., police received a call about a man poised to jump from the Colorado Street Bridge. As an officer tried coaxing Garcia down from the span, he leaped to his death, 160 feet below.

Hours after his sister's death, Edwin Quiles sat in her home, unable to comprehend how he had lost both his mother and his sibling in one brief instant.

The mother and daughter had lived together since Quiles' father died in 2001. "When Father passed away, she stepped right up to the plate and took care of Mom," Edwin Quiles said. "They were so happy. I was amazed at how much love there was between them."

He said he couldn't understand how things had gone so horribly wrong between his sister and Garcia.

"My sister kept to herself," he said.

"I know things were not working out" recently, he added. "She asked him to move out so they could have time to regroup. They weren't getting along.

"But what I did know about him was that he seemed like a fun-loving guy. He loved my sister. And he loved their son."

By dusk, Edwin Quiles was preparing to leave his sister's home and return to his own residence, where his children and wife were watching over Joshua.

"He doesn't know what happened yet," Edwin Quiles said in a soft voice. "When nighttime comes, I will sit him down. I think I will just tell him that Mom, Grandma and Dad got hurt . . . and that they will not be able to come back.

"Right now, the No. 1 priority is to make him feel loved, to make sure he knows he has a safe haven. Because as much as we are going to miss them, I can only imagine what he will be thinking."

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richard.winton@latimes.com

greg.krikorian@latimes.com

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