A history of domestic discord may have compelled a 67-year-old Woodland Hills woman to fatally shoot her husband and then take her own life, police said Wednesday.
Lillian A. Gomes shot and killed her husband, Charles Gomes, 71, before shooting herself at the couple’s home in the 5300 block of Dubois Ave., said Officer Ladonna Cissell of the Los Angeles Police Department.
The two had been married for 49 years, but neighbors said Charles Gomes could often be heard shouting at his wife.
“He appeared to me to be like a ‘rageaholic,’ ” said Robert Pope, who has lived across the street from the Gomeses for 10 years. “I’d hear doors slamming, and him cursing very loud. But other times he seemed fine.”
Family friends, however, said the marriage was not troubled, and wondered Wednesday whether the couple hoped to avoid the ravages of illness and advanced age.
One of those friends, Glenn Nelson, said Charles Gomes was a diabetic who in recent months had experienced “substantial weight loss and declining conditions.” Lillian Gomes also had serious health issues, he said.
“Nobody will ever know,” he said. “But that may have been a factor.”
Harry Spear, another close friend, said the Gomeses spent a lot of time together and often visited a time-share residence in Las Vegas.
“They had a solid marriage and loved each other,” he said. “They were very close to their two sons.”
In a prepared statement, police said they believed “a history of domestic violence may have contributed to the shooting,” based on interviews with neighbors and family members.
Spear said the couple moved from Long Island, N.Y., to California sometime in the 1950s. Charles Gomes, a Navy veteran of the Korean War who later worked as an electrical engineer in Canoga Park, was active in the Canoga Park Elks Lodge, where the couple did philanthropic work. Lillian Gomes was a homemaker, Spear said.
“I’m absolutely shocked that this happened,” he said. “She never gave the impression she was capable of something like this.”
Lillian Gomes’ body was discovered around 4:10 p.m. when the couple’s adult son arrived at the residence, Cissell said. He called 911 and shortly after, his father’s body was found under a pile of clothing on the couple’s bed.
LAPD Lt. Gary Hallden said several guns were found in the home, but only one was believed to have been used in the shootings.
Neighbors in the tidy suburban neighborhood described the couple as intensely private people.