Small children should not die from bullets for any reason.A father and his 4-year-old son were killed and a woman and two other young children were wounded by a gunman wearing a painter's mask who set fire to their home near Los Angeles early Saturday, authorities said.Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta told KABC-TV that a SWAT team set up a perimeter and was using dogs to search for the attacker, who may have lived in a rear house on the property. Investigators were trying to determine whether the suspect fled or remained in the house as it burned.
UPDATE (10/22/12): In addition to the death of the 4-year old, a 7-year old girl was shot in the chest and is in critical condition, and a 6-year old boy was shot and injured in the pelvis, but is now released from the hospital. The father was shot and killed while protecting his children. The mother was shot and injured, and escaped with the 4-year old, who later died.
The shooter, who went on the rampage after getting an eviction notice and blaming the victims, wore a painter's mask and wore a bulletproof vest. The shooter then killed himself after setting fire to the home. From a follow-up article:
Police suspect that Moses indiscriminately opened fire on the family who rented a bungalow on the same property, blaming them for an eviction notice he had received from their landlord.
The family had called police several times asking them to conduct a welfare check after becoming concerned about Moses' increasing isolation and odd behavior, a relative said. The landlord said he had obtained an eviction order Tuesday that gave the man 15 days to move out.
Moses allegedly attacked the family around 4 a.m. Saturday while wearing a painter's mask, according to witnesses. Neighbors were jolted awake by the gunfire.
Filimon Lamas and his wife, Gloria Jimenez, tried to protect their four children, authorities said. Lamas was found slumped over three of them; Jimenez, despite being shot in both legs and her pelvis, jumped a fence and ran from the home cradling their 4-year-old son, who had been shot in the head.
Lamas, 30, and the 4-year-old later died. On Sunday, Jimenez, 28, remained in stable condition at UCLA Medical Center. The couple's 7-year-old daughter, shot in the chest, was "critical but stable," police said.
Their 6-year-old son, shot in the pelvis, was released from the hospital Sunday and was resting with family members, a relative said. Their 8-year-old son was not hurt in the attack.
Shortly after the shooting rampage Saturday, Moses' home was in flames. Authorities have said they believe he set it on fire.
Jimenez had worried that Moses was "not all there," her brother Jaime said. He said Moses grunted when the family greeted him and complained when the children played in the yard between their houses. Neighbors said Moses appeared to have no friends or family and had not paid rent in years.
Online records from the California Department of Consumer Affairs show that Moses has held a "guard/patrolperson registration" since 1984. He appears to have kept up with the renewal process, as the registration was valid through August 2013.
A spokesman said security guard registrations require renewal every two years. New applicants are fingerprinted and run through an FBI and state Department of Justice database. That does not happen when the license is renewed, the spokesman said.
(a related article, with family photo and statement from mother thanking those who are supporting them).