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Man invades Irvine home, kills 1, wounds 2 in overnight standoff

Police say Alwyn Gibson II of Fairfield, Texas, stormed the home of his ex-girlfriend's family, killed her father and wounded her mother and brother before surrendering early Saturday morning.

February 22, 2009|paloma esquivel and christopher goffard

A former prison guard, apparently upset over a failed romantic relationship, stormed an Irvine home, fatally shot a 60-year-old man and wounded two others before surrendering to police early Saturday morning, police said.

Responding to a report of a residential robbery about 9 p.m. Friday, police arrived at the quiet Woodbridge neighborhood to discover that 24-year-old Alwyn Gibson II of Fairfield, Texas, had barricaded himself inside the home of his ex-girlfriend's family, police said.

After holding the family hostage all night, Gibson surrendered to police about 2:10 a.m. He is being held on suspicion of murder, police said.

When police entered the home, they discovered the body of De Ngoc Le, the father of Gibson's ex-girlfriend. Le's wife and son were hospitalized with gunshot wounds. The wife, who was shot in the arm, was able to walk out of the house. The son was in serious condition, police said.

No information was available on the whereabouts of the ex-girlfriend at the time.

Irvine Police Lt. Rick Handfield said investigators found a small-caliber gun inside the house in the 100 block of Rainstar. Police did not hear gunfire from inside the house during the five-hour standoff. A witness told police that Gibson had used a makeshift silencer.

As officers arrived, one of Le's sons escaped and said the gunman was his sister's ex-boyfriend and had taken the family hostage, Handfield said.

Neighbors were told to turn off their lights and remain indoors while police negotiated with Gibson through the night. Hours later, residents were told to evacuate. Most took refuge at a nearby clubhouse.

"It's very tragic for this family, and our hearts go out to them, and we wish them the best through this troubled time," Handfield said.

Jerry Packer, 49, who lives four houses down from the home, said the Le family took good care of their home but kept mostly to themselves.

Gibson's father, Alwyn Gibson of Fairfield, Texas, said his son had been living in California about six months ago when he broke up with his girlfriend of about three years.

"She asked him to leave," he said. He said his son tried to rebuild his life, moving to Texas, renting a house near his father and taking a job at a minimum-security prison. He resigned after two months, his father said.

Gibson said his son had been hospitalized last year in Southern California for psychiatric evaluation. Last week, Gibson spent time with his son in Fairfield and found him "a little bit distant."

"I knew there was something troubling him," he said, but "nobody had any idea that anything was going on with him like this. Nobody could see this thing coming."

On Saturday morning, neighbors of the Le family talked about the difficult night, punctuated by the deep roar of helicopters and officers standing watch with drawn guns.

Asha Knott, 66, was attending a spiritual study group along with a dozen others Friday night when police ordered them to turn off the lights and stay inside. Helicopters were flying overhead, and the group could see police officers with their guns drawn from an upstairs window, she said.

"I've lived in this area for 20 years and never seen anything like this happen," Knott said. "This is a nice quiet neighborhood. I don't even lock my car doors when I come here."

In September, for the fourth year in a row, FBI crime statistics deemed Irvine as the safest city with more than 100,000 residents in the country.

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paloma.esquivel@latimes.com

christopher.goffard @latimes.com

Times staff writer Ruben Vives contributed to this report.

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