LOS ANGELES (AP) - A medical technician apparently distraught over losing his job at a hospital fatally shot his wife, five young children and himself at their harbor-area home Tuesday. Police said the victims included two sets of twins.
Ervin Antonio Lupoe and his wife, Ana, worked at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center West Los Angeles, the facility said in a statement.
"We are deeply saddened to hear of the deaths of the Lupoe family," it said.
Shortly before the killings, Ervin Lupoe faxed a letter to a TV station claiming he and his wife had been fired from jobs as medical technicians and she suggested they kill themselves and their children, too.
"Why leave the children to a stranger?" the man wrote, according to KABC-TV.
KABC reported that the man claimed in the fax that a medical center administrator rebuffed them when they showed up to work, told them to file a union grievance and said, "You should have blown your brains out."
Lupoe wrote that they filed a grievance but nothing was done and two days later they were fired, KABC said.
"They did nothing to the manager who started such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years old with no place to go. So here we are," the note said.
At the bottom of the note, Lupoe wrote, "Oh lord, my God, is there no hope for a widow's son?"
The Kaiser Permanente statement made no comment on the claims in Lupoe's fax.
Police said the child victims were an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin 2-year-old boys. Their names were not released. Lupoe's Web page on the Facebook social networking site showed smiling photos of the children.
It was the fifth mass death of a Southern California family by murder or suicide in a year.
"Today our worst fear was realized," said Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. "It's just not a solution. There's just so many ways you find alternatives to doing something so horrific and drastic as this."
Police described the fax but did not release the detail reported by KABC.
"He was going through some critical situations at the job, that's what he described in that two-page letter, ongoing problems at the job, and that's what prompted him to take his own life and his family's, from what was said in the fax letter," Garner said.
The TV station called police after receiving the fax, and a police communications center also received a call from a man who stated, "'I just returned home and my whole family's been shot,"' Garner said.
"There is a disconnect but we believe our suspect is the one who called," Garner said.
Garner said a note was found in the home, but it was not clear if it was what had been faxed to the TV station.
Officers rushed to the two-story home in Wilmington, near the sprawling twin ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, shortly before
8:30 a.m., apparently within minutes of the killings. Garner said the officers could still smell the gunshot residue and a revolver was found by the man's body.
The bodies of the girls and the father were in an upstairs bedroom. The mother and boys were in a bedroom downstairs.
Although the fax asserted that the woman was involved, police Lt. John Romero said, "It is apparent that the suspect in the murder is the male adult."
The two-story home, much larger than its one-story neighbors, sits in front of a railroad track in Wilmington, a 10-square-mile community about 18 miles south of downtown. A children's playset stood in the backyard and a pickup truck and sport utility vehicle were parked in the concrete front yard.
McFarland Avenue is in a working-class neighborhood a few blocks from the east basin of a channel leading into Long Beach harbor. Many residents work as longshoremen or truck drivers servicing the ports. The work is casual and has dried up in recent months, said retired truck driver Jaime Solache, who lives a few doors from the Lupoe home.
"It's real, real slow," Solache said in Spanish.
Freight trains rumble along a track behind his house in the early morning, blowing horns as they roll through a crossing.
Several of the homes on McFarland are larger and newer than the weathered bungalows that sit on most lots. Solache said many of these newer homes had gone into foreclosure. The Lupoe house, which has a sign hanging above the driveway reading "The Lupoe's Pad," is about six years old, Solache said.
News of the killings sent shivers through the community, and several neighbors came to the yellow police tape to watch a steady procession of officials enter and leave the home.
"This area right here is quiet, calm," said Armando Chacon, who lives one block north. "People like to sit out at weekends and barbecue. Other than this, no problems at all."
A community meeting was planned later Tuesday in a local church.
On Dec. 24, Bruce Pardo, 45, dressed up as Santa Claus invaded a
Christmas Eve party at his ex-wife's parents' home in suburban Covina, opened fire with a gun and set the house ablaze with racing fuel. Ex-wife Sylvia Pardo and eight relatives were fatally shot or burned. Pardo later killed himself.
In October, a 45-year-old unemployed financial manager despairing over extreme money problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and himself in their home in the Porter Ranch area of the San Fernando Valley.
Karthik Rajaram wrote in a suicide letter he felt the honorable choice was to kill himself and his family instead of just himself, police said.
In June, five members of a Turkish-American family, clad in black, were found dead in an upscale home in San Clemente. Investigators say it was apparently a suicide pact but the reason is a mystery. Manas Ucar, 58, was shot by his wife, Magrit, who then shot herself. Their 21-year-old twin daughters and a grandmother took lethal doses of drugs.
In February, an apparent murder-suicide claimed the lives of five family members in Yorba Linda. Police say Orland Cho, 41, shot his 39-year-old wife and her children ages 9, 8 and 5. Cho's 14-year-old son survived his wounds.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)