LOS ANGELES – An unemployed accounting industry worker who was despondent over financial problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in an upscale home in a gated community, police said Monday.
The bodies were found by officers making a welfare check Monday morning when the wife failed to show up at a neighbor's home to go to work, Deputy Chief Michel Moore said.
Officers entering the large, modern home in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Porter Ranch found the older woman shot to death in bed, he said. The other bodies were found throughout the house but not in bed.
A handgun, purchased on Sept. 16, was found where the father's body was located, Moore said.
The family members' names were not immediately released because police wanted to make sure schools attended by the slain children had time to make grief counselors available.
The children were sons ages 19, 12 and 7, the wife was 39 and the mother-in-law was 70. The father was 45.
Investigators found envelopes containing a suicide note to police, another to friends and relatives and a will.
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.
Moore did not specify what financial trouble the man had been in. He noted that the family did not own the home.
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. "We believe that he has become despondent recently over financial dealings and the financial situation of his household."
The man had no record of mental disabilities or contacts with mental health professionals in Los Angeles County, Moore said.
PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Steven Silber had no immediate comment. Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman Steve Elzer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
The killings happened sometime after 6 p.m. Saturday, Moore 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.
Ryan Ransdell, who lives across the street from the house, said it had been occupied by the family for about a year.
"They didn't socialize too much," he said. "They kept pretty much to themselves."
Ransdell said he didn't hear any gunshots on Saturday night.