A woman who fled her estranged husband while she finalized a divorce was shot to death by him in front of her best friend's Lancaster home on Thursday morning, authorities and the friend said.
Deputies arriving to an assault call found a woman and a man who had both been shot in front of a home in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-10 at about 6:50 a.m., according to Lt. Dave Coleman with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Coleman said. The victim was identified as 48-year-old Silvia Salazar by the resident of the home, who said she was the victim's best friend of two decades.
A neighbor told investigators the man approached the woman in the driveway and the couple began arguing. Then, the 58-year-old man pointed a gun at her and fired several times before shooting himself and being taken away in an ambulance, according to a sheriff's news release. He was later pronounced dead at an area hospital, Coleman said.
“Apparently the two were involved in a divorce, which may have been finalized yesterday,” the lieutenant said.
The sheriff's news release, which called the case a murder-suicide, described the gunman as the victim's estranged husband.
Neighbors said they heard the couple arguing and then shots being fired. Many residents of the neighborhood, including schoolchildren, awoke to see the bodies outside the home.
The victim had been staying since May at the Lancaster home to try to get away from her husband, Luis Salazar, according to Dolinda Reyes, who described herself as Silvia Salazar's best friend.
The couple had been married for more an 25 years before the divorce proceedings, according to Reyes, who identified the victim. Luis Salazar knew the victim was staying at Reyes' home, Reyes said.
The victim worked as a nurse at a school in Mojave, Reyes said.
"She was a very smart lady. I've got good memories for her," Reyes said. "She was a good Christian lady."
Both the female victim and the shooter were residents of Lancaster, the Sheriff's Department said.
Reyes did not provide the spelling of her friend's name, but the Antelope Valley Times identified her as Silvia Salazar.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff's Department at 323-890-5500. Those who prefer to remain anonymous can call "Crime Stoppers" at 800-222-8477.