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Column One: 'I wasn't trying to be a hero, but I think I could have stopped him'

October 7, 2009 |  2:56 pm

Charlie Bohnhoff wonders what he could have done to stop the slayings of his son and a co-worker at the family's lumberyard. At left is his granddaughter Christa, who lost her father. Credit: Christina House/For The Times
The Times' Hector Becerra revisited the scene of a workplace double homicide for today's Column One:

On the surface at least, Bohnhoff Lumber Co. in Vernon is returning to normal. The floral memorials are gone. The letters and condolence cards have stopped pouring in. The awkward phone calls from customers asking for people no longer there have ceased.

But as Charlie Bohnhoff, 79, walks into the office, he passes a reminder: A picture of a middle-aged man, smiling genially, his hands locked behind his head as he leans back in a chair.

Charles "Alan" Bohnhoff. October 29, 1953-May 18, 2009, the inscription reads.

On May 18, gunshots echoed, people ran and bodies fell at the lumber company that Bohnhoff's grandfather, C.W. Bohnhoff, a German immigrant, founded in 1910. The gunman killed the yard's foreman, Marine veteran Jaime Sanchez, 31, and Bohnhoff's son Alan, 55.

The alleged assailant, Saul Moreno, was an employee who seemed to love Charlie Bohnhoff like a father and who, by all accounts, Bohnhoff had treated like a member of the family. Moreno, 51, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder and one count of attempted murder.

Read more of Becerra's story: Double slaying continues to haunt a Vernon lumberyard

Photo: Charlie Bohnhoff wonders what he could have done to stop the slayings of his son and a co-worker at the family's lumberyard. At left is his granddaughter Christa, who lost her father. Credit: Christina House/For The Times
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