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20 June 2024

Man shoots, kills 3 kids and himself

Photo: AP


A father of four young children who was arrested in March and May on domestic violence complaints and barred from owning a firearm went on a shooting spree outside his home this weekend, killing three of his children and then himself, authorities said.

The children’s mother called 911 shortly after midnight on Sunday saying the man, Ricardo Garcia Lopez, was firing a gun, police in the Northern California city of Clearlake said Monday.

Responding officers found Lopez, a 39-year-old laborer, dead in his driveway with a firearm and apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, said police in Clearlake, which is about 110 miles (175 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

The couple’s children were found inside an SUV parked outside the home, Clearlake Police Sgt. Tim Hobbs said in a statement. Three of the children, ages 9 months, 2 and 4, were dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

A 5-year-old who was also in the car had been shot in the chest but was alive and was hospitalized in stable condition, the statement said.

Police did not say what kind of gun Lopez used in the crime or how he obtained it. Clearlake police on Monday did not immediately release copies of the 911 call or identify the children’s mother, who they say called 911 as she ran from the home seeking help.

But it is clear that they were familiar with Lopez.

Lopez was arrested March 10 on a felony charge of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and released on $10,000 bail, according to records from the Lake County Sheriff’s office and the Lake County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty to battery on a non-cohabitating partner and was sentenced to three years of probation and barred from owning or possessing a firearm, court clerk Luanne Hayes said. The court also issued a restraining order, Hayes said.

Just two months later, police arrested Lopez again on May 24 on a misdemeanor complaint of spousal battery and released him on $25,000 bail, Hayes said. Police issued a bench warrant for Lopez’s arrest after he failed to show up for his scheduled arraignment in July.