WEST COVINA, Calif. – Sheriff's investigators combed the neighborhood around a mansion Thursday for clues to whoever shot a woman to death as she was calling a 911 emergency dispatcher for help.
The woman slain late Wednesday morning was identified as Hsiao Hsu, 45, said Sheriff's Department spokesman Ed Hernandez.
The 911 dispatcher heard the shots while the woman was on the phone reporting an incident, said Deputy Steve Weirdter.
Sheriff's deputies responding to what was described as a burglary in progress entered the home and found the victim. She was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics, a Sheriff's Department statement said.
The department said detectives had information that one or more males were seen running from the location.
The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that an Asian man who came to the scene about an hour after the shooting asked deputies, "Is my wife OK? Did you find the guy?"
The man collapsed and cried out, "No! No! No! She just called me, you lie," the newspaper said.
A patrol car drove the man away.
A KABC-TV report showed an investigator examining what appeared to be a handgun under a shrub in the neighborhood.
The house is east of Los Angeles in an unincorporated area of West Covina where many homes stand well back from roads, with tall hedges and gates. Horses stood quietly in a corral at one neighborhood home Thursday.
At the crime scene, a three-story house with a tennis court, pool and four-car garage, investigators examined the opening mechanism of the driveway's black iron gates. Later, a repairman worked on the gates.
A neighbor said a couple recently occupied the home, described on real estate Web sites as being nearly 6,000 square feet and having recently sold for more than $2 million.
"They moved in only about six months ago. I've only seen them drive in and out," said Ronald Wheeler, 57, a facilities manager who lives across the street.
Irene and Jesus Marquez, who live nearby, said the family has two children.
"They were really nice, good people," said Irene Marquez.
"When they moved in here they brought a box of See's candies," said Jesus Marquez. "And they invited the kids to come over and go swimming any time (in their pool)."
Across the street from the Marquezes' front gate, two evidence markers lay on the side of the road. About 30 feet farther up the street there were three more evidence markers.
The Marquezes' granddaughter, Isabella Herrera, 10, said she saw the detectives retrieve a pair of gloves from across the street from their home.
"They had kids, I think they were pretty young," said Albert Cardona, 42, a real estate broker who lives down the street.
Debbie Duarte, 47, said her home was burglarized in December one day when she took her kids to school. She said there had been four burglaries in the area in recent months.
"As far as I know it's a safe area so I brought my kids here for school," she said.