Calif. family shot; body found in hunt for gunman

Associated Press
Inglewood emergency personnel respond to the scene where a man, wearing a mask, set a duplex on fire and then shot five members of a family on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012 in Inglewood, Calif. A father and his 4-year-old son were killed and a woman and two other young children were wounded by the gunman, authorities said. A 6-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl were in critical condition, Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said. The woman, said to be the children's mother, was being treated for gunshot wounds to the knee and pelvis. An 8-year-old boy was uninjured.  (AP Photo/The Daily Breeze, Chuck Bennett)  MAGS OUT; NO SALES  MBO
.

View gallery

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Police found a body in the Southern California bungalow belonging to a gunman who is accused of breaking into a neighbor's home and shooting five family members, killing two of them.

The shooting rampage before dawn Saturday killed a father, who was shielding two of his children, and his 4-year-old son, Inglewood Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said. His 28-year-old wife was shot in both legs but managed to carry the wounded 4-year-old out of the house.

Paramedics found her collapsed on the street. The child, who suffered a bullet wound to the head, died at a hospital.

"Their efforts were certainly heroic," the chief said. He called the shooting spree a horrific crime.

Investigators believed Desmond John Moses, 55, set his own home ablaze before entering the family's home around 4 a.m. wearing a dark cap and a white painter's mask.

Authorities say he fired 10 times. In addition to the deaths of the father and child and injury to the mother, a 7-year-old girl was wounded in the chest and a 6-year-old boy suffered a bullet wound in the pelvis. An 8-year-old boy escaped injury.

The mother and daughter remained hospitalized in stable condition, Inglewood Police Lt. James Madia said. The 6-year-old boy was released.

Authorities announced late Saturday night that the body was found during a search of the badly burned bungalow, which took hours because it was packed with debris.

"He was kind of a hoarder or pack rat," Madia said.

He said police planned to continue looking for Moses until an autopsy can identify the body.

Madia said Moses lived in the bungalow for 17 years, while the family lived in the front house for 8 years.

Fronterotta would not discuss the nature of the dispute, but the property owner told the Los Angeles Times that Moses had been fighting an eviction notice and recently lost his case in court.

A woman who knew the family, Judy Castellanos, told the Times that the suspect was reclusive and would not let anyone look inside his home.

"He had been asked to leave by the end of this month," she told the newspaper.

After the shooting, police evacuated about 15 nearby houses to search for Moses while firefighters and investigators sifted through Moses' bungalow to determine whether he returned there after the shooting.

The names of the family members have not been released pending notification of relatives.

View Comments (51)