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Police continue probe into murder-suicide of Wilmington family

January 28, 2009 | 10:37 am

Wilmington2 Los Angeles police are continuing their investigation today into the murder-suicide of a Wilmington man and his family.

Human rights leaders led a candlelight vigil Tuesday night outside the home where 40-year-old Ervin Lupoe shot and killed his wife and five young children, including two sets of twins. In front of the two-story home, with the family vehicles still parked in the driveway, about 30 mostly Latino mourners gathered and repeated the rosary in Spanish.

A white poster with black writing read: "Rest in Peace Family Lupoe," and Santeria candles and teddy bears crowded a corner of the driveway. Myrna Navarro, 35, who lives across the street from the Lupoe home, said that the family moved in when their eldest daughter, Brittney, was a baby and the two sets of twins had not yet been born. Navarro said she heard about the shootings while at work in Redondo Beach.

"I was just in shock, my body, I just got the goosebumps," she said.

See KTLA video after the jump.

Early Tuesday, officials said, Lupoe, an X-ray technician at Kaiser Permanente in West Los Angeles who had recently been laid off, roamed room to room with a handgun and fatally shot his wife and children.

Investigators said he faxed a bitter, rambling two-page letter to a local television station, blaming his employer for his actions. Though his wife and children were already dead, he also called the station threatening to kill his family, investigators believe.

Kaiser Permanente confirmed in a statement that Lupoe and his wife, Ana, were recently terminated from employment at the health network's West Los Angeles Medical Center. Hospital officials declined to provide details, saying only that they were cooperating with investigators and were "deeply saddened" by the deaths.

The family's crisis apparently began coming to a head about two weeks ago, when the couple were let go. About the same time, Lupoe showed up to check the three older children out of Crescent Heights Elementary School, not far from the hospital.

Investigators strongly suspect the case is a murder-suicide. But they said they would continue reviewing physical evidence to rule out other possibilities.

-- Ari B. Bloomekatz

Photo credit: Associated Press