House burns after man says he’d shoot wife
Monday, January 3, 2011
Investigators found a body Saturday night in a San Diego County house destroyed by fire, after a man called 911 saying he was going to shoot his wife and himself, authorities said.
The body was found in the ashes and rubble of the home in Santee, but the person’s identity was not immediately clear, sheriff’s Lt. Dennis Brugos told several media outlets.
“He said he was going to kill his wife, kill himself and burn his house down,” Brugos said.
“He said that’s what would happen, and what we have is a house that is burned down and what appears to be a body in the rubble,” Brugos said.
The search was to resume Sunday for a second body.
Neighbor Ruth Taloza said she had spoken with the man earlier in the day and he told her his wife had cancer and they were being evicted.
“He told me they’re being kicked out of their home and they were both laid off from their jobs,” Taloza said. “They had tried for a lower loan rate and were denied.”
About 30 minutes later, Taloza saw flames shooting out of the garage.
The man, whose name has not been released, placed the call just after 2:30 p.m., sheriff’s Lt. Jim Duffy said.
Responding crews found the house in flames and a plume of smoke in the air visible for miles.
Some surrounding residents were evacuated and one adjacent house was scorched, Duffy said.
Firefighters had to wait at the bottom of a hill below the house for about 20 minutes before taking on the blaze because of fears that an armed suspect was inside.
Brugos said investigators learned the man had at least one firearm and had expressed financial concerns.
Lindsay Collins drove by the home just after the fire started.
“I was driving by, and the garage door was half-open, and I heard an explosion, and it was like this red-orange glow,” Collins said.
“I pulled over to get out of my car and his neighbors came and said, ‘Don’t go anywhere near there — he’s crazy. They just want you to stay inside because the ammunition was going off.’”