Week in Review : MAJOR EVENTS, IMAGES AND PEOPLE IN ORANGE COUNTY NEWS. : AT THE SCENE : Worker Kills Manager, Then Shoots Himself
Fidel Gonzalez Jr., 53, had worked for the state Employment Development Department for 17 years. Last Monday, he reported to the Garden Grove office for work as usual about 7 a.m.
The office manager, Louis H. Zuniga, 50, summoned Gonzalez to his office. Gonzalez started off but returned to his desk, pulled out what looked like a piece of paper, went to the lavatory and after a short while went to Zuniga’s office.
Other employees could see the two men through the office’s glass walls. They said that the two exchanged some words in what appeared to be normal conversation. No one outside the office could hear what they were saying.
Then Gonzalez raised a Brazilian-made, .38-caliber revolver he had bought two months earlier and fired four shots at Zuniga. Three missed, but one hit Zuniga in the arm, traveled across his chest cavity, tore apart the arteries in his neck and lodged in his lung. He lay in his office, bleeding to death.
Without hesitation, Gonzalez put the gun to his own temple, fired and died.
The sudden, unexpected carnage left the office employees in shock and bewilderment.
Friends of Zuniga, a former La Habra city councilman, described him as warm and people-oriented. One said, however, that he was impatient with inefficient or slow employees.
Friends of Gonzalez, a worker specializing in finding jobs for hard-to-place people, described him as highly popular among his fellow workers and clients. One said, however, that he was upset about being chastised by Zuniga for being behind in his work and for taking office files home.
Both had joined the department in 1969, both had served as state directors for the League of United Latin American Citizens, both had received commendations for community services.
Both are survived by wives and by children.
State police found a note signed by Gonzalez in Gonzalez’s breast pocket:
“This is to attest I, Fidel Gonzalez, job agent at Garden Grove EDD . . . am solely responsible for the destruction of all my job agent (files), present fiscal year and past. I hope this will alleviate a lot of stress from my co-workers and set them free.”