Police say California home deaths were murder-suicide
SIMI VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A man fatally shot his visiting mother, a dog and himself in a Southern California home where a written bomb threat triggered an evacuation of neighbors, police said Friday.
The killings took place at a house in the Los Angeles suburb of Simi Valley on Thursday. Police believe it was triggered by a dispute between the man and his mother, who was visiting from Las Vegas.
Cmdr. Steve Shorts, a Simi Valley police spokesman, identified the dead as Esperanza Guadalupe Cullen, 58, and her 33-year-old son, Michael John Cullen.
Shorts said Cullen’s son lived in the home with his aunt, who is his mother’s sister.
It was his aunt’s husband who discovered Cullen’s mother in a bloody scene Thursday evening and called police.
Officers spotted something written on a wall and called in a bomb squad, triggering the evacuation.
“All I know at this point in time is that what was on the wall was some script indicating that there was a bomb in there,” Shorts said.
No bomb was found, but the bodies of the son and the dog were discovered.
“We don’t know why but there was some kind of dispute inside the residence between the visiting mother and her son and it appears that he shot his mother and killed her, shot a family dog inside the residence, and then shot himself,” Shorts said.
Simi Valley is a city of 125,000 people about 35 miles (56 kilometers) northwest of downtown Los Angeles.