Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Suspected Wilmington gunman, wife had lost jobs at Kaiser Permanente [UPDATED]

Facebook250 A man who had recently been laid off from a local hospital opened fire at his Wilmington home today, killing his five young children as well as his wife, police said.

The gunman then took his own life, according to authorities. Police said the children were an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin 2-year-old boys. LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner said police found notes inside the house in which the gunman referred to "work-related issues."

"In these tough economic times, there are other options,"  Garner said. "In my 32 years, I've never seen anything like this."

Police discovered the bodies after a bizarre series of events this morning that included, authorities said, the gunman faxing a letter to KABC Channel 7 shortly before killing himself. Someone, possibly the gunman, called the LAPD about 8:20 a.m. saying, "I just returned home, and my whole family has been shot," according to Garner.

Police entered the house and smelled gunshot residue. The bodies were found around the house. Each person apparently had been shot with a revolver.

Garner said the bodies of the three girls were found in an upstairs bedroom and the bodies of the boys and the mother were found in a back bedroom. Notes found at the house suggested the case was a murder-suicide, he said.

According to Channel 7, the faxed letter detailed workplace problems both the man and his wife were having at a Kaiser Permanente hospital in West Los Angeles. The letter said that an unnamed administrator told him one day that he shouldn't have come to work and said "you should have blown your brains out."

The man said in the letter that he complained to his union to no avail. Then both he and wife were fired, Channel 7 reporter Gene Gleeson said in summarizing the letter.

The couple, Ervin Antonio Lupoe and his wife, Ana, were both former employees of Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles Medical Center. "They were recently terminated," a spokesman for the hospital group confirmed.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of the tragic deaths of Ana, Ervin and their five children," Kaiser said in a statement, extending the hospital group’s sympathies to their family and friends. "We are providing support to Kaiser Permanente employees."

Kaiser officials said they are cooperating with the ongoing LAPD investigation.

UPDATED at 3 p.m.: At an afternoon news conference, LAPD officials said that the family had pulled the older children out of their school several weeks ago. Capt. William B. Hayes said Lupoe was involved in a "business dispute" with Kaiser but did not elaborate.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the city and county have hotlines available for people in desperate straits, including job centers, counselors and suicide hotline workers. "Know we are waiting with a helping hand and an open heart," he said.

Police investigators said that based on their preliminary investigation, the case involves one suicide and six homicides, according to LAPD Lt. John Romero. But they said they must review physical evidence to rule out other possibilities.

The letter faxed to KABC indicated, for example, that there was agreement between husband and wife that killing the family was the best course of action, suggesting the possibility that both adults planned the slayings in advance. But the 911 call in which the husband reportedly told police that he came home to find his family shot to death also clouded the picture.

-- Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton, Corina Knoll, Ari B. Bloomekatz and Ruben Vives

Photo: Family portrait taken from Ervin Lupoe's Facebook page.

Related material:

Photo gallery

 Earlier blog post

Comments () | Archives (111)

So were this couple deeply involved with the union at the time they were fired?
I would like LA Times journalists to investigate the information surrounding Kaiser's handling of this. I would also like to see the release of the letter that he wrote before the killings. Please do not protect the corporation by sweeping events under the rug.

It's not the gun, it's not the man or the woman that is to blame. It's all of us. Most people wouldn't cross the street to feed a hungry man but let him die and see who cries out who was wronged. The system failed, the employer failed, the family failed and the tragedy could have been averted if someone cared enough to get involved.

"What can you do to make things better" should ring in every ones mind on a daily basis but we're human and we fail, regularly. Unfortunately someone with a gun fell so far into despair that mental illness takes over. These are bad times and bad things are happening, where are the support systems? They certainly were not at Kaiser.

We don't know for sure, and may never know, if this unidentified administrator told this man that he "should have blown your brains out".

I have, however, heard similarly insensitive statements made to persons -- including myself -- being fired during the 82-85 recession.

Boy, Kaiser had better check their people skills. No one should ever tell someone who is mentally or emotionally fragile to hurt themself. If those comments by the Kaiser administrator are indeed true then the unemployment line should get a bit longer. Perhaps maybe an arrest?

This is a horrific tragedy. My heart aches for them.

You've obviously fired all your proof readers.

Couldn't Kaiser have chosen a better choice of words then 'They were recently terminated," ??

While I am saddened by the tragic deaths, Kaiser's response gives a very good indication of how they view their employees.

How many peoples lives did they ruin?

The place they worked isn't exactly known for its good deeds.

Well, what can I say, Kaiser delivers 8 kids this morning, but kills 7 people this afternoon.

It's really unfortunate that people feel, whether out of pride or desparation, that they need to take these drastic steps. There are ALWAYS other options. Anyone who has been on the rollercoaster we call life knows that there is always an alternative to suicide. The unfortunate thing about this is that the small children NEVER had a chance to live their own lives. It's a shame, but unfortunately this is not the first and it surely won't be the last, especially in these tough times.

Indeed this is very sad and horrible event. Who is to blame? Kaiser? The economy? Losing a job is very devasting banks don't pardon your situation, nor do they care that you die. Banks have no mercy and this government pumped billions of dollars into them to save them.......

One family gets all the support society can muster. 49 doctors to birth their fertility-treatment caused octuplets. 6 weeks in intensive care. Does that cost one million dollars? Who gets the money? Kaiser Permanente.

Another family gets fired from Kaiser Permanente and has the prospect of no support from society whatsoever.

It's not the gun? How moronic. The availability of guns only made it easier to commit a crime that could have been delayed and possibly stopped otherwise.

Rest in peace.

There are always alternatives when a person or couple lose their jobs and are on the verge of financial calamity -- yet so many people are so desperate, so distraught, that they want to instantly end any pain and problems they foresee.


May they find the peace in eternity.

I blame Obama. There is no an attitude of intolerance that a) promotes death, vis-a-vis unlimited abortion and b) promotes lawlessness be appointing known felons to Secretary of State and Treasury.

This poor man was told there was "change we can believe in" and "hope" and that his "mortgage would be paid, and gas tank filled" but instead all he got was a pink slip from Kaiser (a significant donor to the Obama-Biden campaign) and a bum's rush from his union (another key player in the Obama-Biden conquest).

How many more of these tragedies can we Angelenos expect?

Blame the man, not Kaiser, not Bush, not Obama. We're living in a society of victim mentality. The Western civilization is dead with such a mindset.

As usual, a lot of opinion here but not much knowledge. First of all, Kaiser is pro union, so the man's union activities would not have been a problem. There is also a long, detailed process for terminating union people, one that ends up in arbitration if the union feels the employee's dismissal was wrong. As to Kaiser's limited statement on the couple's termination, corporations typically maintain privacy on the details of an employees dismissal.
A deeply troubled man killed himself and his family after losing his job. That's all anyone knows right now until the facts show something else.

I blame the person who pulled the trigger on those children. Many, many thousands, millions of people have lost their jobs and don't kill their children.

I don't have much good to say about Kaiser, but it would be interesting to find out why they were fired, and the union didn't stand behind them.

The only person to blame is the killer of those children.

The person to blame here is the man who pulled the trigger and killed his children. If the gunman had lived, perhaps people would be less quick to ridiculously blame Kaiser or the economy for these murders. What is happening in the world that we negate personal responsibility? Now the gunman is a victim?

Shame on the LA Times for this irresponsible headline!

First, let me say: Kaiser stinks!

Second: I had a pretty brutal experience with a former employer and was fired in retaliation. I probably could have hurt myself or others. I believe the employer was somewhat culpable. But I did the right thing and with time and distance, I overcame my situation.

However, I did not have five kids to suppport, and my spouse was not employed by the same firm.

I understand the Times can't dig (abd won't get far if they do), but I would like to see some employer accountability in situations like these.

I blame Obama. There is no an attitude of intolerance that a) promotes death, vis-a-vis unlimited abortion and b) promotes lawlessness be appointing known felons to Secretary of State and Treasury.

This poor man was told there was "change we can believe in" and "hope" and that his "mortgage would be paid, and gas tank filled" but instead all he got was a pink slip from Kaiser (a significant donor to the Obama-Biden campaign) and a bum's rush from his union (another key player in the Obama-Biden conquest).

How many more of these tragedies can we Angelenos expect?

Posted by: Errol Flynn

Perhaps this person should check into Kaiser - the psych ward to be specific! Obama has been in office less than 2 weeks and he balmes him for the economy???

They have drugs in the pscyh ward to help with paranoid delusions.

Well, there is another reason for national health insurance that I never thought of: anyone who works for the Government, directly or indirectly, gets more protection from being fired than if they work for greedy insurance companies.

Forget playing the blame game. I've been quite unsuccessful over the years of talking some of my friends out of taking drastic measures such as these to give up on the daily struggle that is de facto life for tens of millions (even billions worldwide) of us. Blaming others for the financial hole many of us are in won't solve the problems nor ameliorate bearing the weight of the burden of life some of us are now being forced to bear. Besides isn't casting blame such a pointless exercise when we are faced with something so hard to believe as this stark reality? My heart goes out to this family, I hope that they are now in a better place. May God rest their souls.

I can't believe someone would blame our new President for such a tragedy. Be bigger than that and stop hating on the President (a black man) . We as a country need to stop blaming and hating one another and work together with finding ways to help improve our economy. How about God blessing their remaining family members by giving them the strength to carry on. Ask God to walk with President Obama so that he can improve the economy and the country. We need unity. President Obama did not screw up this country. 8 years of Bush, 7 days of Obama. You do the math if you can.

Kaiser has the funds to deliver 8 babies to some selfish woman who used fertility drugs, but it cannot deal humanely with its employees? Kaiser spends tens of hours training to deliver 'newsworthy' babies, but nothing for the babies of these sad, undoubtedly mentally ill people? No one care enough about these people.

We should all be ashamed.

There needs to be an investigation as to who the unidentified Kaiser administrator was that told the gunman to "blow his brains out". Once he is identified, he should not only be fired, he should also be arrested as well.

1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...


About L.A. Now
L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
Have a story tip for L.A. Now?
Please send to newstips@latimes.com
Can I call someone with news?
Yes. The city desk number is (213) 237-7847.


Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: