03/30/2009

Six killed in Calif. home shooting

Associated Press

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Six people were shot to death, at least three of them children, and another person was critically wounded in an apparent murder-suicide at an upscale home in Silicon Valley, police said Monday.

The suspect appeared to be among the dead in the apparent "family on family" violence, Lt. Phil Cooke said.

Authorities said a neighbor called police about 8:30 p.m. Sunday to report that a woman was injured outside a townhouse in the Santa Clara community of Rivermark, about seven miles northwest of San Jose, Cooke said.

Officers found five bodies with gunshot wounds when they arrived at the home - a 10-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl, a man in his 40s, another man in his 30s and a woman in her early 30s, said Capt. Mike Sellers.

A toddler later died at the hospital. A woman who managed to escape is in her mid-30s and was hospitalized in critical condition with multiple gunshot wounds, Sellers said.

Investigators were working to confirm the identities of the victims, the relationship between them and a possible motive for the rampage.

"We know they are related somehow. We do not believe this is a random act of violence," he said.

Cooke said two handguns were recovered at the scene.

"It looks like it was family on family, murder-suicide and that all the people were connected," Cooke said. He said police were doing interviews to find out "how it all fits together and try to get some indication why this happened."

Investigators also were working to notify extended family and confirm identities before releasing any of the victims' names, he said.

Residents said Rivermark is a relatively quiet, 7-year-old planned community with a shopping center, playgrounds and a mix of townhouses, condominiums and Spanish-style houses that go for $1 million.

"It's the sleepiest little area. Nothing ever happens here," said Jackie Stewart, who walked with her husband over to the crime scene, cordoned off with yellow police tape.

Cooke said he could recall three other family shootings in the last several years in Santa Clara, a city of about 108,000. The latest was in November, when authorities said a Silicon Valley engineer opened fire at an office park hours after being fired from his job, killing three colleagues.

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