California man shoots estranged wife & boyfriend as divorce turns bitter

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A bitter husband in the central Californian city of Fresno gunned down his estranged wife and her boyfriend as they left a Catholic mass on Sunday.

The husband, 64 year-old Manual Garcia, fled the scene and barricaded himself in his home, which was then surrounded by a SWAT team. SWAT teams are specially trained police squads who employ military equipment and methods in situations thought to be especially dangerous. The acronym is short for ‘special weapons and tactics’.

But Garcia ended the confrontation by shooting himself.

Father Dominic Rajappa told The Fresno Bee that he’d heard the sound of gunfire from the parking lot at the back of the church as the congregation filed out after the service. Martha Garcia, 61, died at the scene and her friend, Raul Herrera, was pronounced dead in hospital later that day.

Manual and Martha had been married for no less than 43 years but she filed for divorce just a month ago but did not move out, eventually admitting to family members that she had begun a relationship with Mr Herrara. The family had no history of domestic violence.

Their daughter alerted police after receiving texts from her father saying he’d killed her mother.

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer told reporters that she had then met up with officers outsider her father’s home. He refused to talk to the Police but continued texting her, before suddenly turning his gun on himself. The Police heard the gunshot, but unsure of its meaning, sent a remote-controlled robot into the house and only entered themselves after it had located the man’s body.

Father Rajappa said his parishioners had been badly shaken by the shocking homicides, which were a first in the history of the church. “They were really scared” he explained.

Last year, in the city of Martinez, 180 miles north of Fresno, a 60 year-old woman tried to run down her ex-husband outside a divorce court. He survived, while she sped off and threw herself from a nearby bridge.

Photo of Fresno by Gemini2525 via Wikipedia under a Creative Commons licence

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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