6 Killed in Apparent Murder-Suicide in Santa Clara

By: Terry Collins AP
By: Terry Collins AP

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Police were investigating Monday an apparent murder-suicide in an upscale neighborhood of Silicon Valley that left six people dead, including at least three children, and another person critically injured.

Lt. Phil Cooke said the suspect appeared to be among the dead and it looked like a "family on family" incident.

Authorities said a neighbor called police at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday to report that a woman was injured outside a town house in the Santa Clara community of Rivermark, located 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. The woman who managed to escape is in her mid-30s and listed in critical condition at a local hospital 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. The suspected gunman killed himself, Sellers said.

"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. They also planned to dispatch grief counselors to any schools the children may have attended.

Residents described Rivermark, a 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, as relatively quiet.

"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.

In 2002, a woman killed her estranged husband, two daughters and
herself in her home. In 2003, a man smothered and drowned his 3-year-old son and a 12-year-old stepdaughter before jumping off a cliff in Santa Cruz. Also in 2003, a man shot his wife and three children while they were visiting from Orange County.

Santa Clara was rocked by another shooting in November, when authorities say a Silicon Valley engineer opened fire at an office park hours after being fired from his job, killing three colleagues.


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