A Los Angeles deputy city attorney, his wife and his adult son died Wednesday in a Northridge shooting being investigated as a double-murder-suicide.
Officers sent to a home in the 9600 block of Vanalden Avenue on a "shots fired" call shortly after 9 a.m. entered the residence and found the bodies of two men and a woman, said Los Angeles police Officer Jeff Lee.
The Los Angeles City Attorney's Office issued a statement identifying one of the victims as Deputy City Attorney Eric Lertzman, 60, his wife and his adult son. The coroner's office identified the other victims as Sandra Lertzman, 60, and Michael Lertzman, 19.
Police said the shooting appeared to be "a family violence matter," while the City Attorney's Office called it a "domestic disturbance."
Lertzman joined the City Attorney's Office in 2005.
"This is a horrible tragedy," City Attorney Mike Feuer said in a statement. "As we search for answers to how this could happen, we mourn the victims and envelop those left behind with our love during this time of unbearable loss. Of course we will provide members of our City Attorney family with needed counseling and support."
A neighbor told reporters that a woman -- believed to be Lertzman's adult daughter -- came out of the house claiming her father had tried to shoot her.
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"(She was) in her pajamas, her sleeping attire, upset, confused, distraught, somewhat in shock, seemed like a little bit embarrassed, (and) said 'I don't know what to tell you, Greg, but this is what just happened in my house and I don't know what to do,'" Greg Demos said. "She said, 'My dad took a shot at me, and my mom and my brother are still inside.'"
Police recovered two handguns from inside the residence.
Neighbors described the entire family as "loving" and "kind," but said their circumstances the past year had become more difficult the past year as Eric Lertzman's health deteriorated, and he underwent colon surgery. No longer healthy enough to work, he had to take leave from the city attorney's office. Adding to his burden: last week, he lost his own mother, and at the funeral, appeared distraught and frail.
"Just terrible it came to this--that he couldn't reach out to us or other family members for help," said Russ Beck, who with his wife has been close to the Lertzmans for three decades, sharing vacations, outings, and milestones in their children's lives. Beck described Eric Lertzman as a "kind soul" who enjoyed riding dirt bikes until his declining health made it no longer possible.
Sandra Lertzman was remembered for warm warmly welcoming new residents in the neighborhood, and for her devotion to caring for her elderly mother. Son Michael was living at home while attending college.