Five killed in San Jose mur­der-sui­cide

Lodi News-Sentinel - - FRONT PAGE - By Robert Sa­longa, Mark Gomez and Ethan Baron

SAN JOSE — What ap­peared to be a har­row­ing stand­off Sun­day night ended with the dis­cov­ery of one of the dead­li­est shoot­ings in San Jose his­tory: Five were peo­ple killed, in­clud­ing the sus­pect, in what po­lice de­scribed as a quadru­ple mur­der-sui­cide.

San Jose po­lice con­firmed Mon­day morn­ing that three women and one man were shot to death by a man who then killed him­self, in what ap­pears to be a fam­ily or do­mes­tic con­flict, based on the ini­tial emer­gency calls to po­lice.

None of the vic­tims were im­me­di­ately named by au­thor­i­ties Mon­day, pend­ing their for­mal iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and no­ti­fi­ca­tion of their next of kin. Po­lice also re­leased a grim fig­ure Mon­day morn­ing: the killings marked the city’s 16th, 17th, 18th and 19th homi­cides of the year.

The sus­pect was de­scribed as a Viet­namese man in his 60s, and he has no crim­i­nal his­tory in Santa Clara County out­side of an un­spec­i­fied charge in 1997 for which de­tails were not im­me­di­ately avail­able, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic and court records. His wife and 17-year-old daugh­ter were among sev­eral fam­ily mem­bers who were able to es­cape the home when the gun­fire be­gan, ac­cord­ing to wit­ness ac­counts told to po­lice.

The sus­pect was con­firmed to be dead around 1:25 a.m. Mon­day, ac­cord­ing to law en­force­ment sources. Hours ear­lier, of­fi­cers re­sponded to mul­ti­ple 911 calls Sun­day around 8:40 p.m. about a shoot­ing on Hab­bitts Court, off Sen­ter Road near the Santa Clara County fair­grounds.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice dis­patch record­ings archived on­line, San Jose po­lice got sev­eral re­ports of gun­fire, with at least one per­son telling of “six gun­shots and sub­jects in a ver­bal” al­ter­ca­tion.

That was soon fol­lowed by a re­port from a key wit­ness re­veal­ing the first glimpses of the vi­o­lent episode.

“The (sus­pect’s) wife con­firmed she wit­nessed her hus­band shoot her brother and her sis­ter,” the dis­patcher broad­casted to re­spond­ing of­fi­cers.

Po­lice re­ceived later re­ports of more gun­fire, and at least one de­scrip­tion of “a fe­male and a ju­ve­nile scream­ing.” Some of the peo­ple who fled the gun­shots found safe haven at neigh­bors’ homes.

San Jose po­lice spokes­woman Of­fi­cer Gina Te­poorten said those of­fi­cers got to the cul-de-sac and im­me­di­ately en­coun­tered a hec­tic scene, with blood­ied vic­tims and fam­ily mem­bers flee­ing from the home.

“When of­fi­cers ar­rived on scene, two adults ex­ited the res­i­dence suf­fer­ing from at least one gun­shot wound each,” Te­poorten said.

The wounded vic­tims were evac­u­ated from the shoot­ing scene in the po­lice depart­ment’s Bearcat ar­mored ve­hi­cle. They were rushed to a hospital, where both died soon af­ter, Te­poorten said.

But af­ter ac­count­ing for the peo­ple who ran out of the home, po­lice de­ter­mined there were two peo­ple still miss­ing.

As of­fi­cers sur­rounded the res­i­dence, po­lice tried to con­tact the shooter and as­sess whether more peo­ple were in­side, Te­poorten said. Of­fi­cers from the MERGE unit — San Jose’s ver­sion of SWAT — also re­sponded to the scene. Around 9:30 p.m., a po­lice ne­go­tia­tor hur­ried past the po­lice cor­don on Um­barger Road to­ward the res­i­dence. Shortly af­ter, the depart­ment’s Tac­ti­cal Ne­go­ti­a­tion Unit ar­rived at the scene.

The sus­pect did not re­spond and ap­peared to bar­ri­cade him­self in­side, po­lice said, but re­spond­ing of­fi­cers were recorded telling dis­patch­ers it was pos­si­ble that he might have al­ready been wounded.

Around five hours af­ter the first 911 call, of­fi­cers en­tered the home and found the sus­pected shooter dead from a self-in­flicted gun­shot wound, and also dis­cov­ered the bod­ies of the two women who had not been ac­counted for, po­lice said.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion for in­ves­ti­ga­tors about the case can con­tact SJPD De­tec­tive Sgt. T.J. Lewis or De­tec­tive Brian Meeker at 408-2775283 or leave a tip with Sil­i­con Val­ley Crime Stop­pers at 408-947-STOP or at

ARIC CRABB/BAY AREA NEWS GROUP

A mem­ber of the San Jose Po­lice Depart­ment pho­to­graphs a truck near the scene where five peo­ple were killed in an ap­par­ent mur­der­sui­cide on Hab­bitts Court on Mon­day in San Jose.

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