A festive party Sunday afternoon outside a bar in Sunset Beach suddenly changed to horror as a man fatally shot his girlfriend in the head, then shot and killed himself, the Sheriff’s Department reported.
Both the man and woman were pronounced dead at the scene. Their identities were not immediately available, but authorities said both were in their early 40s and from the Seal Beach-Sunset Beach area.
The shooting was in the parking lot at Turc’s, a bar at 16321 Pacific Coast Highway. Witnesses said a private fund-raising party was going on in the parking lot, which had outdoor tables, umbrellas and decorations. The fund-raiser was for a former bartender who has a severe medical problem, the witnesses added.
Guests Had Been Enjoying the Sunshine
According to Sheriff’s Lt. Larry Abbott, the murder-suicide took place about 3:50 p.m. as guests were enjoying the party in the afternoon sun.
“The man was a late arriver at the party, according to witnesses,” Abbott said. “The man saw his girlfriend there, got into a couple of words with her, and then pulled a revolver from his waistband and shot her once in the head.
“He then did the same thing to himself.”
Abbott said no other injuries were reported. Witnesses said that about 75 people were at the fund-raiser.
A man at the scene who said he was an witness to the shootings described the two shots as coming close together in the midst of the party.
The witness, who declined to give his name, said: “I heard a popping sound, and at first I thought it was somebody playing a real sick joke. I looked towards the noise and saw a woman falling over.
“Then I saw the man who shot her put the firearm to his head, and there was another shot, and then he fell over.”
Sheriff’s deputies arrived within minutes and cordoned off the bar and parking lot.
A few curious neighbors and tourists briefly stood in the area, trying to find out what had happened, but the shootings did not produce a big crowd or tie up traffic in the busy area, authorities said.