ROWLAND HEIGHTS, Calif. (AP) — A man shot and killed his wife and two others in his home on New Year's Eve before his son wrestled the gun away and fatally shot him in a chain of events apparently set off by a dispute over a washing machine, authorities said.
Michael John Morey, 54, shot and killed his bedridden wife, Betty Jean Morey; his son's 48-year-old girlfriend, Linda Patricia Merrell, who also lives at the house in Rowland Heights; and a 27-year-old house guest, Ernesto Calzadilla, Los Angeles County coroner and sheriff's officials said.
The father was a heavy drinker with a large gun collection, and authorities had made dozens of previous trips to the home, the sheriff's department said.
Investigators were talking to surviving witnesses to figure out what led to the father pulling out a semi-automatic pistol and opening fire Thursday night.
"It looks like it was a dispute between the dad and the son's girlfriend, probably over using the washing machine," Sheriff's Lt. John Corina told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. "For some reason, this set the dad off."
The son, 33-year-old Christopher Morey, eventually recovered the gun from his father and shot him, authorities said. Morey is being held on suspicion of murder on $1 million bail, authorities said. Deputies reached by phone did not know if he has an attorney who could comment.
Prosecutors will review the evidence to determine whether to file charges against him. Corina said the potential case will consider whether the father still posed a threat when his son shot him.
Christopher Morey and his girlfriend were living in the home with the 54-year-old mother, who had recently had a stroke.
"They had been taking care of her," Corina said. "She was in a hospital bed there in the middle of the living room."
The mother and brother of Calzadilla were outside the home Friday and told the Tribune that he was the father of an 8-month-old daughter.
The mother, Maria Cruz, said the family was nice to Calzadilla and he liked being at the house.
But Wilfred Calzadilla, said his brother had generally stopped going to the house because of worries about the father, making an exception on New Year's Eve.
"Mixing alcohol and guns never ends good," Wilfred Calzadilla said.