A gunman posing as a postal worker shot two brothers to death Wednesday in Inglewood after pistol-whipping the woman who answered the door, police said.
The gunman entered the house in the 200 block of North Hillcrest Boulevard near Florence Avenue at about 10 a.m. by pretending to have a package for one of the young men, who were between 18 and 22, police said. The gunman was wearing a U.S. Postal Service uniform, police said.
When Regina Martin, who owns the home with her husband, Garrette, answered the door, the gunman said that he needed a signature from one of the men, said Martin's son, who asked not to be identified.
"These kids had a lot of money, and I think this was a hit," the son said. "They were the target."
Martin had taken the brothers in after their mother, a Los Angeles police officer, died of natural causes last year, relatives and neighbors said.
"They were babies, man, and they just had to bury their mother," said an uncle, who also asked not to be identified.
Neither Martin's son nor her husband were in the home when the shooting occurred. U.S. Postal Service officials did not return calls seeking comment on Wednesday.
Martin's son spoke to his mother later about the incident.
Regina Martin asked why she could not sign for the package, he said. When she turned away, the man struck her in the head with a pistol, knocking her to the floor, her son said.
When one of the brothers, whose names were not released, walked into the living room, the gunman shot him in the chest, Martin's son said. The gunman then found the second brother in a back room and shot him in the head, the son said.
All the while, Martin lay on the floor, pretending to be dead until the gunman left, her son said. She then ran outside and flagged down a patrol car, police said.
Police declined to say whether anything was taken from the home, but the Martins' son said he didn't think anything was.
Regina Martin was treated and released from a hospital, but was having problems hearing, her son said.
Her son said his parents are successful Realtors who often help young relatives and others.
Before the two brothers' mother died last year, she asked Regina Martin to take care of the boys, Martin's son and neighbors said. The boys' mother was a good friend of the Martins, they said.
"My parents are good people," he said. "They'll help anybody they can."
Warren Edmonson, an LAPD officer who has lived near the Martins for 18 years, said the neighborhood of white-columned homes and lush lawns is "very nice" and "diverse."
According to property records, the Martins' three-bedroom home was built in 1923. The couple purchased the home in 1994.
Police described the suspect as an African American between 25 and 28, 5-feet-7 and weighing 155 to 160 pounds.
Inglewood police ask anyone with information to call (310) 412-5246 or (310) 412-5210.