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5 children, mother fatally shot in Wilmington [UPDATED]

January 27, 2009 |  9:30 am

LAPD investigators stand outside the home where six people were found dead.

Click here for updates on the Wilmington shooting.

Five children under age 10 and their mother were fatally shot inside a Wilmington home this morning, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police said the assailant appeared to be the children's father and that he apparently committed suicide after faxing a letter to KABC Channel 7. Channel 7 then contacted authorities, police said.

The LAPD was dispatched to the 1000 block of McFarland Avenue at 8:22 a.m. Officer Sam Park said the man apparently committed suicide.

"He called 911 and said his family was dead inside," Park said. "We responded. We have multiple victims inside of the house, and at this point we don't know how many."

Updated at 10:30 a.m.: Police said the children were an 8-year-old girl, twin 5-year-old girls and twin  2-year-old boys. Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner said police found notes inside the house in which the gunman referred to "work-related issues."

"This was a financial- and job-related issue that led to the slayings," Garner said. "In these tough economic times, there are other options. In my 32 years, I've never seen anything like this."

Updated at 11:25 a.m. Someone 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 and 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.

Updated at 1:48 p.m.: 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.

Corrected at 10:03 a.m.: An earlier version of this posting said four children were dead, but LAPD officials have confirmed that five children are dead in the home.

-- Andrew Blankstein, Richard Winton and Ruben Vives

Photo: LAPD investigators gather outside the home where a woman and five children were found dead. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times