Grocery-Store Killer had 2 Bodies in Home
LONG BEACH, Calif. — The grim story of the calm, bald gunman who killed a checker and a little girl at a supermarket grew more bizarre yesterday when police revealed a startling discovery: The remains of two people found in the man's condo a block from the store had been there more than a year.
The bodies of the unidentified pair — so decomposed that gender identification was daunting — were lying on a bed in a bedroom where a window overlooks the Top Valu Market where gunfire erupted Thursday.
Antonio Pineiro, 48, had no criminal record when he walked into the store and opened fire, spraying dozens of bullets. People were running from the store when police arrived and confronted Pineiro near the checkout counter.
The gunman fired at least one shot at police and was hit by return fire, Long Beach police Lt. Bill Blair said. All told, more than 40 shots were exchanged, he said.
Conrado Ibasco, 45, dragged his wife to safety in a store aisle after his 8-year-old daughter, Barbara, was shot in the head as she stood in line with her mother.
"I said to my wife, 'Just leave Barbara. She's going to be fine,' but I knew she was dead," he said.
Store clerk Marcela Perez, 38, also was killed.
Ibasco, his wife and two others were treated for gunshot wounds.
Pineiro owned the small, two-bedroom unit where police and residents say his Cuban parents lived. Neither has been seen by neighbors for more than a year.
"I asked him where they were," said neighbor Paul Cook, who recalled Pineiro regularly carrying large laundry detergent boxes to the unit, sometimes three at a time. "He said they'd moved."
It was unclear if the couple were Pineiro's parents, or if they had died of natural causes or had been killed. Neighbors described his mother as crippled.
Police knew little about the gunman, characterized by neighbors as a portly and "slow-moving" oddball with no apparent job or interests — cordial as he passed in the hallways, often laden with groceries, but lacking the warmth of his parents, Maria and Antonio Sr.
None of the residents in the 1950s-era building smelled or noticed anything unsavory about Pineiro's unit 15.
"Were the bodies moved? Was someone managing the smell of the apartment?" Long Beach police spokesman Dave Marander asked rhetorically. "We may never know what the real story is here."