A poor economy can kill. Literally. In yet another example of how secondary family factors such as economics can affect a child’s welfare, a man who was distraught over losing his job fatally shot his wife, his five young children, and finally himself at their home in Los Angeles, California.
Ervin Antonio Lupoe had been working as a technician at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in West Los Angeles, along with his wife. Shortly before the killings, TV station KABC said that it received a faxed letter from Lupoe. In it, he stated that he and his wife had been fired from their jobs as medical technicians, and that they might as well kill themselves and their children, too. The station called the police after receiving the fax. Meanwhile, police were responding to their own call. According to Deputy Chief
Kenneth Garner, the station received a call from a man who stated, “I just returned home and my whole family’s been shot.” Police believe the man was Mr. Lupoe, calling to report the crime before he turned the gun on himself. “Today our worst fear was realized,” Garner said.
Police described the fax but did not release certain details reported by KABC. Police weren’t saying if the fax and the suicide note were the same thing. “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.
According to police, the child victims included an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin 2-year-old boys. The children’s names were not released. The killings stunned this middle class neighborhood in Wilmington, about 18 miles south of downtown. Neighbors describe the area as a “quiet, calm” community where people like to sit down on the weekends and barbeque together. This tragedy marked the fifth mass death of a Southern California family in a year.
“It’s just not a solution. There’s just so many ways you find alternatives to doing something so horrific and drastic as this,” Garner pleaded. Work has dried up for many residents in this area of the state, and it’s well known that many families are struggling, yet it’s still hard to come to grips with something so tragic.