Economic crisis forces a laid off worker to shoot his family

January 29th, 2009 - 12:02 pm ICT by Amrit Rashmisrisethi  

A laid off man shot his family and himself and by leaving a note that the couple had just been fired from their hospital jobs and had planned the killings as an escape for the family.

‘Why leave our children in someone else’s hands,’ X-ray technician Ervin Lupoe wrote in a bitter, rambling two-page letter that he faxed to television station KABC-TV at about 8am on Tuesday, just before he shot himself.

The station called the police, and a police dispatch centre also received a call from a man who stated: ‘I just returned home and my whole family’s been shot.’ Officers went to the home in Wilmington, a small community between Los Angeles and Long Beach, at 8.30am, apparently within minutes of the killings. Officers could still smell the gunshot residue in the air.

Upstairs room, they found Mr Lupoe and three girls, eight-year-old Brittney and twin five-year-olds, Jaszmin and Jasseley, a revolver by the father’s side, and a suicide note nearby and the next room they found Mrs Ana Lupoe and two-year-old twins Benjamin and Christian. All were shot in the head, some multiple times.

The connectivity of the death was due to the economic crisis, evidence has emerged that the Lupoes had been fired after a probe into misconduct, and not been laid off as part of cost-cutting.

Mr Lupoe had in his letter indicated that he and his wife - both medical technicians at Kaiser Permanente Medical Centre West Los Angeles - had been under investigation for misrepresenting their employment in order to obtain childcare.

He claimed that an administrator told them on Dec 23: ‘You should not even have bothered to come to work today, you should have blown your brains out.’

The couple complained to the human resources department and eventually were offered an apology, but were fired two days later, said the letter.

‘They did nothing to the manager who stated such and did not attempt to assist us in the matter, knowing we have no job and five children under 8 years with no place to go. So here we are,’ wrote Mr Lupoe.

He claimed in the letter that his wife planned the killings, but police suspect Mr Lupoe instead. They believe that as early as Monday evening, he roamed from room to room armed with his revolver, shooting his wife and the children.

Early on Tuesday, he faxed the letter to the TV station, called the station threatening to kill his family, then the police. He then turned the weapon on himself, the authorities believe.

Kaiser Permanente confirmed that the Lupoes worked there, but did not comment on his claims.

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