Northern California man with record of domestic violence kills three of his children and himself


A father of four young children who was arrested in March and May on domestic violence complaints and barred from owning a firearm went on a shooting rampage outside his home, killing three of his children and then himself, authorities said.

The children’s mother called 911 shortly after midnight on Sunday saying Ricardo Garcia Lopez was firing a gun, police in the Northern California city of Clearlake said Monday.

Officers found Lopez, a 39-year-old laborer, dead in his driveway with a firearm and apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, police said.


The couple’s children were found inside an SUV parked at the home, Clearlake Police Sgt. Tim Hobbs said in a statement. Three of the children — ages 9 months, 2 and 4 — were dead from apparent gunshot wounds.

A 5-year-old who was also in the car had been shot in the chest but was alive and hospitalized in stable condition, the statement said.

Police did not say what kind of gun Lopez used or how he obtained it. They did not immediately release copies of the 911 call or identify the children’s mother, who they say called as she ran from the home seeking help.

But it is clear that they were familiar with Lopez.

Lopez was arrested March 10 on a felony charge of inflicting corporal injury on a spouse and released on $10,000 bail, according to records from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and the Lake County Superior Court.

He pleaded guilty to battery on a non-cohabitating partner and was sentenced to three years of probation and barred from owning or possessing a firearm, court clerk Luanne Hayes said. The court also issued a restraining order, Hayes said.

Police arrested Lopez on May 24 on a misdemeanor complaint of spousal battery and released him on $25,000 bail, Hayes said. Police issued a bench warrant for Lopez’s arrest after he failed to show up for his scheduled arraignment in July.


Lopez was also facing three charges of failure to register as a sex offender, according to sheriff records from his May arrest. Details of the sex offender case were not immediately available and did not appear to stem from Lake County, the court said.