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Victims identified in apparent murder-suicide at Torrance senior home

November 21, 2012 |  5:56 am

Two women in their 50s were identified Wednesday as the victims in what is believed to be a murder-suicide at a senior home in Torrance.

Charlie Vanhager, 54, and Maria Leon, 53, were killed Tuesday at Golden West Tower in the 3500 block of Maricopa Street, according to the Los Angeles County coroner's office. The name of the alleged shooter, who employees said was a resident with a history of violent outbursts, has not yet been released pending notification of next of kin.

The man was seen with a gun about noon near the business offices of the high-rise facility, witnesses said.

Arturo Ramirez, a maintenance worker at the complex, said he spotted the gunman and dashed to the maintenance office, where he locked himself inside and called 911.

He said he could hear one of the women killed -- a caregiver who tended to about 20 residents -- plead for mercy.

"I heard her say, 'Please, no! Please!'" he said. "Then, I heard two gunshots."

A few minutes later, Ramirez said he heard another gunshot. He remained locked in the office until police found him and escorted him out of the building.

Other employees told The Times that the alleged perpetrator was a male resident of the facility and that the other woman killed was a manager there. One employee said the alleged shooter was prone to violent outbursts and had expressed anger toward the two who were killed.

Authorities confirmed that one of the victims was an employee of the complex, but said that none of the purported threats had been reported to Torrance police.

Sgt. Robert Watt of the Torrance Police Department said a handgun had been used and that investigators were still probing possible motives for the killings.

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