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Father kills 2 sons and himself, Chula Vista police say

The man was reportedly upset about financial problems and a custody battle. The killings are the third murder-suicide in San Diego County in a month.

June 22, 2011|By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from San Diego -- A distraught father killed his two teenage sons and set fire to the family home before killing himself, Chula Vista police said Tuesday.

The dead were identified as Thomas Fuchs, 49, and his sons Sean, 15, and Kyle, 13.

Police said notes left at the home indicated that Fuchs, a lawyer, committed the murder-suicide. He was reportedly upset about financial problems and a custody battle with his ex-wife, Maria Pe, also an attorney.

Neighbors along the tree-lined street reported smoke coming from the home about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. Firefighters quickly doused the flames and found the bodies.

Fuchs' ex-wife arrived at the home on Bonita Verde Drive as fire and police investigators were combing through the burned-out portion of the house. She was led away in a police car.

Tuesday's killings are the third murder-suicide in San Diego County in the last month.

On June 1, police found the bodies of Mary Alvarez, 41; her daughter Angelica, 12, and son Hamid, 11, in their three-story townhome in Chula Vista. Police believe they were strangled by Alvarez's former live-in boyfriend, Alfredo Almonte, 37, who then committed suicide by leaping off a freeway bridge in the Spring Valley area.

A week earlier, a family of four was found dead in the Paradise Hills neighborhood of San Diego. The bodies of the father and two daughters were found in the home's swimming pool, the mother's in the bathtub. Suicide notes, written by the mother and father, indicated that the family was in financial trouble.

Police believe that Alfredo Pimienta, 44, killed his daughters, Priscilla, 17, and Emily, 9, and his wife, Georgina, 38, before killing himself. The medical examiner has yet to announce the cause of death; toxicology tests are pending.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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