5 children, 2 adults found dead in home

January 27, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Los Angeles police found seven bodies -- 5 children and 2 adults -- in a Wilmington home on Tuesday morning.The bodies were found in a two-story home on the 1000 block of McFarland Avenue shortly before 9 a.m. Tuesday. The case is being investigated as a murder-suicide, but police are exploring all possibilities. Police say they believe the father, Ervin Lupoe, was distraught over ongoing job problems and killed his wife Ana and their five children before shooting himself.

"They were in separate rooms, the dad and the girls in one room, and the wife and the boys in another room. When the officers came in, they smelled what they believed to be fresh gunshot residue in the air," said LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner.

Police said the apparent father was found dead with his three daughters, 5-year-old twin girls and an 8-year-old girl, in an upstairs bedroom. A revolver was found next to the man. Twin 2-year-old boys were found dead next to their mother in another bedroom.

The Assistant Chief of Investigations for L.A. County Coroner's Office, Ed Winter, confirmed the identities of the deceased Tuesday. They are Ervin Lupoe; wife Ana Lupoe; daughter Brittney Lupoe, 8, and twin daughters Jazmin and Jassely Lupoe, 5; and twin sons Benjamin and Christian, 2.

All of them died from gunshot wounds to the head, some with multiple wounds. The wife and children died some time overnight, after 4 p.m. Monday. The father died after contacting ABC7 Tuesday.

Police believe Ervin Lupoe shot his five children and his wife, and then called ABC7. He was calm as he explained what he had done, and wanted to fax a letter. ABC7 called police and told them what was happening. The man called police as well.

"There was a call to Communications at the same time, the watch commander at Harbor [Division] received a call from KABC Channel 7; so it was almost simultaneously we got those two calls, and within minutes, a unit was in front of the location and went inside, but unfortunately it was too late," said Deputy Chief Garner.

At the same time Eyewitness News notified police, they received a phone call from a man who stated, "'I just returned home and my whole family's been shot."

Deputy Chief Garner said police are unsure who the male caller was, but they suspect it was the father.

In his faxed letter, Lupoe sounds distressed. He said both he and his wife were fired from Kaiser Permanente, and he explained his side of the story. "My wife and I were being investigated for misrepresentation of our employment to an outside agency for the benefit to ourselves' [sic] childcare ... I was told by my administrator ... that 'You should not even had bothered to come to work today, you should have blown your brains out.' So after a horrendous ordeal, my wife felt it better to end our lives and why leave our children in someone's [sic] else's hands."

At the end, he leaves a handwritten message: "O my Lord, my God, is there no home for a widow's son?" Eyewitness News has learned that this is an oath by the Freemasons, a Grand Masonic hailing sign of distress. Any Mason hearing these words is obligated by oath to help.

Tuesday afternoon, Kaiser Permanente issued a statement:

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic deaths of Ervin Lupoe and his wife and family. Our sympathies are with all of their extended family and friends at this time," wrote Mehera Christian, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. "Ervin Lupoe and his wife are former employees of Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center."

Deputy Chief Garner said that the incident is the LAPD's worst fear in these tough times that families will see no other way to deal with the problems that are piling on them.

The police department is working with grief counselors, who will be sent to the schools that the children attended.

Eyewitness News Reporters Gene Gleeson, Carlos Granda, Leo Stallworth and Sid Garcia contributed to this report.


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