Killer: Murder-Suicide Was ‘Honorable'

Suicide note left by killer says murdering family members was the best option

 Deep in despair, Karthik Rajaram wrote that he saw two ways out.

The first, he said in a suicide letter, was to simply kill himself.

He instead chose the second, which he felt was more honorable, and killed five family members first, police said.

The 45-year-old unemployed financial manager, despondent over extreme money problems, was found dead with a gun in his hand by police officers in his two-story house in an upscale gated community, authorities said Monday.

He had shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in the home in the Porter Ranch area of the San Fernando Valley.

Investigators quickly found two suicide letters and a will, and determined that Rajaram once worked for a major accounting firm and was at least the part-owner of a financial holding company, Deputy Chief Michel Moore said.

Rajaram wrote in his suicide letter that he felt he had two options — to just kill himself or to kill himself and his family — and decided the second option was more honorable, Moore said.

"The source of it appears to be a financial state, a crisis if you will, that this man became embroiled in that has unfolded over the past weeks," Moore said.

The bodies were found when officers checked the home Monday morning after the wife failed to show up at a neighbor's home to go to work as a pharmacy bookkeeper, Moore said.

Officers found the mother-in-law, Indra Ramasesham, 69, dead in bed on the first floor. Upstairs, they found a 19-year-old son, Krishna Rajaram, dead in bed in the master bedroom.

The gunman's 39-year-old wife, Subasri, was found in another room, also apparently shot while sleeping, Moore said.

In an adjoining room, a 12-year-old son, Ganesha, was dead on the floor, and his 7-year-old brother, Arjuna, was dead in bed. Their father's body also was found there with a handgun "in his grasp," Moore said. The gun was purchased Sept. 16.

Coroner's assistant chief Ed Winter said the victims were shot multiple times.

Winter said the family was from India. He said the older woman was an Indian national, but he did not know the status of the others. "I think they are legal residents," he said.

The killings occurred some time between midnight Saturday and early Monday morning, Winter said.

The gated community, called Sorrento Pointe, is among several developments along curving lanes and cul-de-sacs set on the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains in Porter Ranch, about 23 miles northwest of downtown.

"It's very quiet here," said Ryan Ransdell, who lives across the street. "You'd think someone would have heard it. You can hear a car door shut at night."

Ransdell said the family kept to themselves.

The father had a master's of business administration in finance, formerly worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Sony Pictures, but had been unemployed for several months, Moore said. The deputy chief did not identify the financial holding company, though Nevada records show an incorporation there.

Moore did not specify what financial trouble the man had been in. He noted that the family did not own the home.

One of the suicide letters was addressed to police and the other to friends and relatives.

In the suicide letters, "he attests to some financial difficulties, takes responsibility for the taking of the lives of his family members and himself as a result of those financial difficulties," Moore said.

The man had no record of mental disabilities or contacts with mental health professionals in Los Angeles County, Moore said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Steven Silber said Karthik Rajaram last worked for the company in 1999, but declined to offer any further information about him.

"This is obviously a terrible tragedy, about which we are very saddened. However, Mr. Rajaram has not worked for PWC for nearly a decade, so it would be inappropriate for us to comment any further," Silber said.

Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman Steve Elzer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Karthik Rajaram is listed as a co-manager of a corporation called SKGL LLC, which is incorporated in Nevada, according to state records. He formed the corporation for his family's assets and used his family members' initials to form the name, said Las Vegas attorney Christopher R. Grobl.

SKGL was incorporated in 1999 and renewed its annual business license in December 2007.

Grobl did not know what sort of business SKGL was or why Rajaram incorporated in Nevada.

Krishna Rajaram was enrolled at the University of California, Los Angeles, as a junior majoring in business economics, spokesman Phil Hampton said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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