3 Shot Dead at Hacienda Heights Home in Apparent Murder-Suicide

The killings may have been motivated by family illness, the son of the slain couple said

By Melissa Pamer and Gordon Tokumatsu
|  Wednesday, May 1, 2013  |  Updated 10:25 PM PDT
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A family member blamed the deaths of his mother, wife and father-in-law on health issues. His wife suffered from Alzheimer's, as did his father, who sheriff's deputies say was the shooter. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Hacienda Heights for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 1, 2013.

Gordon Tokumatsu

A family member blamed the deaths of his mother, wife and father-in-law on health issues. His wife suffered from Alzheimer's, as did his father, who sheriff's deputies say was the shooter. Gordon Tokumatsu reports from Hacienda Heights for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on May 1, 2013.

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In an apparent double-murder suicide, three people were found fatally shot Wednesday morning in Hacienda Heights.

An 84-year-old man apparently killed his 80-year-old wife and their 62-year-old daughter-in-law before shooting himself.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to the shooting after a call came in just before 9 a.m. from the 15900 block of Ladysmith Street (map) in a residential neighborhood of large single-family homes.

"This is the classic ending of three people with terminal illnesses," said Jim Crabtree, who was married to the youngest victim, 62-year-old Rita Delehanty.

Crabtree spoke to reporters at the scene.

He said he had dropped his wife off every day at his parent's house for six years, since she was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's disease, which took a serious toll on the family.

"Look into the eyes of your spouse and have them not know who you are -- are they your spouse anymore? Do they know you anymore?" Crabtree said.

His father, Dan Crabtree, 84, was also suffering in the early stages of Alzheimer's, while Jim's mother Carol, 80, was in constant pain because of joint problems.

Jim said his father Dan took matters into his own hands, ending all three of their lives.

Authorities said the shootings were being investigated as an apparently double murder-suicide.

Sheriff's Capt. Tim Murakami said the male victim, who was found in the backyard, was alive when deputies got to the scene, but he died on the way to the hospital.

Aerial video of the house showed what appeared to be a shotgun on the patio next a wheelchair ramp by a backyard pool. A handgun was also found at the scene, authorities said.

The Sheriff's Department Industry Station retweeted a San Gabriel Valley Tribune reporter's tweet stating that two guns were found in home near a wounded man.

"No signs of intruder No outstanding suspects sought," the tweet read.

Two 911 calls reported the shootings: one from a neighbor who heard the shots, and another from a male inside the house.


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