Apparently distraught over his pending divorce and the death of his teen-age son more than a year ago, a man shot his estranged wife to death in the street outside her Canyon Country house Tuesday morning and then killed himself.
The bodies of Manuel Felix Jr., 48, and his wife, Catalina, 46, were found by paramedics in front of her house in the 28000 block of Eagle Peak Avenue about 6:45 a.m. after neighbors heard gunshots, a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department spokeswoman said.
The two were pronounced dead at the scene.
Deputy Mary Landreth said that the couple had been in court Monday regarding the divorce and that the husband was under a court order not to go near his wife’s house.
But Tuesday morning he approached her as she was leaving for work and “apparently chased the woman into the street, where he shot her once in the head with a .30-caliber hunting rifle,” Landreth said. “He then turned the gun on himself and shot himself once in the head.”
In October, 1989, the Felixes’ 17-year-old son, Manuel III, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding along Soledad Canyon Road struck another vehicle.
Manuel’s death hit the community hard at the time because he was the second Canyon High School student to die in less than a week.
Michael Criss, a neighbor who has known the couple for about three years, said they had been having marital problems for some time, and that the husband never came to terms with the death of his son.
“He couldn’t handle it,” Criss said of the boy’s death. “Their marital problems were definitely connected to the death of their son.”
Criss said the husband had spoken to him several times in the past about their marital problems.
“After it happened, and I thought about it, it doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “I had a disturbing conversation with him about a year ago, and he told me that he was mad at God because of his son’s death. I didn’t really think about that until today.
“But what’s the borderline where somebody suddenly snaps and does something like this?”