A body found in the rubble of a bullet-ridden inferno in Inglewood may be Desmond John Moses, who authorities believe shot and killed a father and his four year old son, police said Sunday.
Filimon Lamas died in a hail of bullets as he used his body to shield his young children from Moses' raging attack.
The 55-year-old Moses rented a cottage on the property where Lamas lived with his family. He was involved in a dispute with Lamas' family, apparently over paying rent.
Police said Moses set the back house where he lived on fire and then set upon the family early Saturday, firing at least ten shots.
Lamas, 33, died in the attack, along with his four-year-old son, who has not yet been identified. His wife, 28-year-old Gloria Jimenez, was injured along with two other children.
One of them, a six-year-old boy, was released from the hospital into the care of other family members, police said Sunday.
Police found the body in the back house early Sunday. Although an autopsy will not be conducted until later this week, there were indications that the corpse was Moses.
The male remains were clad in bullet-resistent armor and found clutching a gun in the left hand, Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said. The loaded handgun was a .38 caliber revolver registered to Moses.
The body appeared to have a gunshot wound to the head, Fronterotta said. The clothing that the man wore had ammunition in the pockets.
Police have not discussed the nature of Moses' dispute with Lamas' family. But on Saturday, Judy Castellanos, who has a daughter related to one of the victims, said the gunman had not paid his rent for some time.
Police had been called several times in the past for disturbances, she said.
Amid the fire and bullets, Lamos tried desperately to shield his children.
His 4-year-old son, who has not yet been identified, was shot in the head and died in surgery.
Jiminez was hit in the legs, and she ran out into the street carrying the 4-year-old, collapsing after a police officer took the boy, Fronterotta said.
She was in critical but stable condition at UCLA Medical Center.
Two other children also suffered gunshot wounds and were also in critical but stable condition, police said.
"The fire had been started before the shooting, and then the suspect came into the house with a painter's mask on,'' said Fronterotta. "The father was in a position of shielding the children as officers came into the scene."
Police at one point evacuated homes and urged others to remain inside behind locked doors while they searched for Moses, who they thought might be hiding in a house nearby, police said.
Firefighters, responding to the blaze, were forced to wait because of the possibility that the gunman was in hiding and because of fears that live wires from downed power lines could harm firefighters attempting to douse the blaze, police said.
The other victims included a 6-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl, Fronterotta said. The only one in the house not injured was an 8-year-old boy, he said.