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Gunman who fired on family was wearing body armor, police say

October 22, 2012 |  3:20 am

Inglewood police suspect a gunman indiscriminately opened fire on a family Saturday morning, blaming them for an eviction notice he had received from their landlord.

He allegedly shot five people -- including three children. Two died.

The body of the suspect was believed to be found in the ashes of his home, wearing body armor, clutching a revolver and bearing a gunshot wound to the head, police said Sunday.

A corpse was discovered among the remains of a torched house on West 99th Street inhabited by Desmond John Moses, a 55-year-old licensed security guard and the registered owner of the .38-caliber handgun. A positive identification of the body is expected in the coming days.

The family had called police several times asking them to conduct a welfare check after becoming concerned about Moses' increasing isolation and odd behavior, a relative said. The landlord said he had obtained an eviction order Tuesday that gave the man 15 days to move out.

Moses allegedly attacked the family around 4 a.m. Saturday while wearing a painter's mask, according to witnesses. Neighbors were jolted awake by the gunfire.

Filimon Lamas and his wife, Gloria Jimenez, tried to protect their four children, authorities said. Lamas was found slumped over three of them; Jimenez, despite being shot in both legs and her pelvis, jumped a fence and ran from the home cradling their 4-year-old son, who had been shot in the head.

Lamas, 30, and the 4-year-old later died. On Sunday, Jimenez, 28, remained in stable condition at UCLA Medical Center. The couple's 7-year-old daughter, shot in the chest, was "critical but stable," police said.

Their 6-year-old son, shot in the pelvis, was released from the hospital Sunday and was resting with family members, a relative said. Their 8-year-old son was not hurt in the attack.

Shortly after the shooting rampage Saturday, Moses' home was in flames. Authorities have said they believe he set it on fire.

Jimenez had worried that Moses was "not all there," her brother Jaime said. He said Moses grunted when the family greeted him and complained when the children played in the yard between their houses. Neighbors said Moses appeared to have no friends or family and had not paid rent in years.

Online records from the California Department of Consumer Affairs show that Moses has held a "guard/patrolperson registration" since 1984. He appears to have kept up with the renewal process, as the registration was valid through August 2013.

A spokesman said security guard registrations require renewal every two years. New applicants are fingerprinted and run through an FBI and state Department of Justice database. That does not happen when the license is renewed, the spokesman said.

Neighbor Erica Gomez said the loving couple had only one complaint: that they didn't have enough time to spend with each other.

When the couple had down time, they would go to Mexico and visit relatives in Jalisco, where Gloria Jimenez's parents had grown up.

Recently, Jimenez told her brother that she'd just been approved for a home loan. "She was very excited that they were qualified to buy a home," he said. "She was moving on to a new chapter in her life."

He stopped by the bungalow Thursday to help her search for a new place. She hadn't pinned down an area but mentioned that she did not plan to buy her current home, he said. "She felt the property was too small for the family."

On Sunday, friends and family of the victims spent much of the day outside the pediatric intensive care unit at Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA.

They stood in a crowd in the hallway or sat exhausted in a waiting room, and entered the intensive care unit in groups of two or three. At one point, a priest visited and hugged family members.

Jimenez was doing "OK," said a man who identified himself as her father. He then lowered his head. "I just lost my son-in-law and one of my grandchildren."

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--Angel Jennings, Kate Mather and Garrett Therolf

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