Southern California -- this just in

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

Santee house burns after man says he killed his wife and set home on fire

January 1, 2011 |  9:04 pm

At least one person is believed dead in a burned house in Santee that allegedly was torched Saturday by a distraught homeowner who threatened to shoot anyone who tried to put out the fire, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

The bizarre incident began about 2:30 p.m. when a man called the sheriff's dispatcher to say he had just killed his wife and planned to burn down their house and kill himself. He threatened to kill anyone who tried to approach the house, the Sheriff's Department said.

With deputies and Santee firefighters outside, the house quickly became engulfed in flames. Ammunition could be heard "cooking off" inside. Residents of several nearby homes were evacuated.

With the site still hot and considered too dangerous to enter at night, sheriff's deputies will wait until Sunday morning to search the smoldering debris. 

Deputies expect to find at least one body in the charred rubble, officials said. Neighbors in the suburb east of San Diego told reporters that the homeowner was unemployed and had suffered financial problems.

-- Tony Perry in San Diego