VISALIA, Calif. — A man with a violent past gunned down two relatives and then shot himself in a Central California home while a frightened 4-year-old boy survived by hiding in a closet, authorities said Thursday.
Deputies had been called to the rural Visalia residence for a second consecutive night over a report of a domestic dispute, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said.
Arriving Wednesday, they found eight relatives fleeing the home, saying Anthony Moreno, 48, was holding a gun to his wife’s head as she knelt down. Shots had been fired inside.
Also inside the home were Moreno’s 28-year-old stepson and the stepson’s 4-year-old son. Deputies later found the stepson’s body in the garage and the dead couple in the master bedroom.
They discovered the boy alive and hiding under a blanket in the closet and returned him to his mother. The sheriff said the boy often hid there when he became frightened, and he did not see the shootings.
Boudreaux said it appears Moreno had become enraged by his wife’s housekeeping, but investigators continued to interview relatives.
“The family’s very upset,” Boudreaux said. “It’s going to be very difficult to cope with this whole thing.”
Moreno had a history of domestic violence and armed robbery in Los Angeles County dating back to the 1980s, but Boudreaux said they had no history with him in Tulare County.