Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Highland, CA: Highland couple dead in apparent murder-suicide

Sheriff's deputies found the bodies of a married couple in the driveway of a home Tuesday morning, the victims of an apparent murder-suicide shooting.

Elizabeth Figueroa, 55, and her husband, 59-year-old Jesus Figueroa, were separated and going through a divorce, said San Bernardino County Sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.

"It appears that both subjects were shot in the driveway of the home and the wound to Mr. Figueroa was self-inflicted," Bachman said.

Deputies received a report of suspicious circumstances in the 27000 block of Clifton Street about 9:30 a.m. They arrived and found the couple, who are grandparents, in front of a blue-green home. Officials said Elizabeth Figueroa lived at the home and her husband lived elsewhere.

At some point, according to Sheriff's officials, Jesus arrived at the home and made contact with Elizabeth. During that interaction, he shot her and then shot himself, according to the Sheriff's Department.

It was unclear when the shooting occurred, because investigators could find no reports of shots heard in the area.

Investigators found a weapon at the scene but did not disclose what kind.

Deputies closed a portion of Cole Avenue, where it meets Clifton Avenue, and more than half a dozen family members of the victims gathered outside the police tape, talking on cell phones, embracing each other and weeping.

Relatives declined comment, but one said, "We're in a state of denial right now."

Neighbors also stood outside their homes, and a small group gathered to pray for the Figueroa family in the middle of the street.

Corey Scales said he and other neighbors didn't hear any gunshots, and were stunned when they woke up and found their neighborhood cordoned off with police tape.

"This just doesn't make any sense," he said.

Homicide detectives and forensic investigators remained at the scene through the afternoon. Several yellow evidence tags sat in the street in front of the home.

Residents described the neighborhood as a quiet street where neighbors mostly keep to themselves.

"This kind of thing doesn't happen here," said Dwayne Manning, 45, who said he has lived in the neighborhood for about five years.

Michelle Blackwell, who lives on Cole Avenue, didn't know the couple well, but described them as nice people.

"It's just sad," she said.

Priscilla Davis, 68, has lived on Cole about two years, and said she saw the couple often when she walked her Pomeranian through the neighborhood. She said the couple's miniature pinscher liked to interact with her dog.

"We always wave and say hello to each other," she said.

But Tuesday morning, she didn't get up early to walk her dog.

"I felt like something was wrong. I didn't get up to walk my dog and then I come out and find this," she said.

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