A gunman who walked into the sheriff's substation in the City of Industry--apparently to confess that he had shot his daughter and her boyfriend--on Tuesday was being held in a psychiatric wing of County Jail to guard against a suicide attempt, officers said.
Detectives said Jimmy Joe Gregory, 56, who was arrested Monday after a 90-minute standoff with deputies in the station, had left a note in his West Covina home threatening to take his own life.
The bodies of his daughter, Vera Nadine Gregory, 27, and her boyfriend, Charles A. Franklin Jr., 40, both of whom lived with the suspect, were found in a car parked in a handicapped space outside the station.
The gunman was a heavy drinker and had been receiving disability payments for a range of medical problems, said Mike Scott, sheriff's homicide investigator. His wife, who had been out of town, told deputies that Gregory had been distraught over financial and family difficulties, Scott said.
"He just gave us the feeling that he wanted to talk to someone," said Deputy Brett Lisle, who was in the station at the time. "He said his family members didn't need him anymore."
Another deputy, Ron Cross, told the Associated Press that he helped break the ice during the standoff by offering the gunman a drink of whiskey.
"I never had to try and form a rapport with someone and keep in mind I may have to kill him," Cross said. "I made a deal with him," Cross continued. "I promised to get him Jim Beam and Coke if he would put the gun down."
When Gregory agreed, deputies rushed to a store to buy the beverages. Gregory unloaded the gun and put it down after he was given the drink, though he promptly picked it up and and reloaded it, Cross said. Gregory put the gun down again at 7 p.m., Cross grabbed it, and Gregory was arrested.
Relatives at Gregory's home declined to comment.
The shooting Monday marked at least the fourth time in the last week that a Los Angeles County man, troubled by domestic woes, had allegedly resorted to murder.
The alleged perpetrators ranged from a 40-year-old Hollywood butcher who apparently shot himself after killing his wife and three children to a Van Nuys restaurant owner who shot his wife, then himself, after she served him with divorce papers.
Although the cases were not connected, psychologists theorized that the crimes shared a common denominator.
Kris Mohandie, a psychological assistant for the Los Angeles Police Department, said suicides and murders occasionally occur in clusters.
"Sometimes there's an element of seeing other people resolving their problems this way," he said. "All of a sudden, it becomes one of the options."
"There's a lot hopelessness and helplessness out there," added Sidney Brown, an Encino psychologist and vice president of the San Fernando Valley chapter of the National Council on Alcoholism and Chemical Dependency.
"Homicide and suicide are the last desperate acts of protest against not getting one's needs met."