LOCAL : Panorama City Killer of Infant, Self, Kept 7 Guns at His Home

From Times Staff and wire service reports

A Panorama City clerk who killed himself and his infant son in his home after a five-hour standoff with police had no prior record but had several weapons and a large store of ammunition in the house, authorities said this morning.

The father and son were identified as Michael Sommer, 32, and Brandon Cox, 10-months-old, who were found dead at 8:30 p.m. Monday in the house in the 8300 block of Costello Avenue, Detective Jim Vojtecky said.

A police negotiating team and a psychiatrist had tried for nearly five hours to persuade Sommer to surrender when the father stopped talking to them by telephone and then shot his son and himself, authorities said.


The hostage situation and shooting was prompted by the impending breakup of Sommer’s relationship with the boy’s mother, Tracy Cox, police said. Sommer had earlier held the mother hostage for an hour but then released her, and she contacted police.

After police heard the shots from inside the house, officers moved in and found the two bodies in a hallway. Vojtecky said two handguns were found on Sommer’s body. A quick search of the home found three other handguns, two rifles, a shotgun and a large store of ammunition for the weapons and other firearms not immediately found in the house, Vojtecky said.

Police said Sommer was a clerk but they did not know where he worked. Vojtecky said Sommer had no previous record of violence or crime that was known to police.