Suspect, 4 dead after Tule River Indian Reservation shooting and Tulare Co shootout

Suspect Hector Eloy Celaya, 31-years-old, hispanic, black hair, brown eyes, 160 pounds. (Tulare County Sheriff's Department)
December 9, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The man accused of killing four people, including his 8-year-old daughter, is dead.

The four people killed have been identified by the Tulare County Sheriff's Office as 60-year-old Irene Celaya, 61-year-old Francisco Moreno, 53-year-old Bernard Franco and 8-year-old Alyssa Celaya, the suspect's daughter.

The incident started Saturday night at the Tule River Indian Reservation southeast of Porterville.

It ended with a second shooting involving deputies about 30 miles away at Avenue 256 and Road 216.

Investigators say 31-year-old Hector Celaya killed four people, including his daughter, and wounded two others including his two young daughters.

Deputies got a 911 call before 8 p.m. Saturday night about gunshots on this property on the Tule River Reservation. When they arrived they found two different crime scenes.

"One was a trailer and inside that trailer we found an adult male and adult female that appeared to have gunshot wounds and were deceased," Sgt. Chris Douglass of the Tulare County Sheriff's Office said.

Another person was wounded and taken to a nearby hospital. That second scene uncovered another body.

"At a second scene on the same property there was a storage shed and another male adult was located," Douglass said.

Detectives say they gathered information Celaya was on the run with his two young daughters.

"Alyssa and Linea they were his daughters and an AMBER ALERT was put out on them because of the possibility of him being armed and dangerous," Douglass said.

Six hours later at about 1 a.m. Sunday morning a deputy spotted Celaya's green Jeep Cherokee in this neighborhood on Avenue 256 near Road 216.

"We attempted to get him out of the vehicle and shots were fired inside the vehicle, not necessarily at our deputies but inside the vehicle so deputies did shoot their firearms at the suspect and the suspect was struck," Douglass said.

Neighbors in the area heard the gunfire.

"I heard a few shots and this morning when I get up I see the sheriffs all around here," one neighbor said.

Family members who didn't want to be identified on camera say they're shocked and grieving the loss of their loved ones.

Detectives say it's still not clear whether Celaya took his own life or died in the gunfire. The deputies who fired their weapons are on administrative leave pending the investigation.

Detectives say Celaya is well-known to law enforcement. They say he also has a history of drug use.

Sheriff's officials say he is a member of the Tule River Indian Tribe.

According to his Facebook page, Celaya grew up in Orange Cove and graduated from Reedley High School in 1999.

Authorities are not sure whether he had custody of his daughters when he took them from the scene on the reservation Saturday night.


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