A firefighter fatally shot his wife inside a La Canada Flintridge home before turning the gun on himself in an apparent-murder suicide, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said on Monday.
Deputies initially responded to a report of a “woman screaming” at approximately 10 p.m. on Sunday in the 5000 block of Crown Avenue, according to a Sheriff’s Department’s news release.
Based on a preliminary investigation, it appeared the couple had been involved in some sort of fight or altercation when the husband opened fire, Lt. David Coleman of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said at an early morning news conference.
Deputies arrived at the residence and found the door was open, Coleman said. They then discovered the victim, who suffered an apparent gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at the scene.
She was identified by the Sheriff’s Department as Cecilia Hoschet, a 2-year veteran of the department.
“We lost a wonderful deputy last night,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said in a statement. “Deputy Cecilia Hoschet impressed everyone she met at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department with her positive and helpful approach to her work. She enjoyed being a deputy and really liked people.”
Hoschet was 32 years old and worked at the inmate reception center of the L.A. County jail.
Investigators later learned that the husband, a Los Angeles County Fire Department firefighter, drove to a county fire facility in Pacoima where his body was discovered according to the release.
His death was the result of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. Coleman said the man’s body was located on the property inside a county vehicle.
The department identified the husband as paramedic James M. Taylor. Officials initially stated Taylor was a 5-year veteran, but later clarified that he worked with the department for 6 years and was stationed at the Pacoima facility.
“Today is a sad day for all public safety personnel in Los Angeles County,” Fire Chief Daryl L. Osbyt said in a statement. On behalf of the entire Fire Department, we extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends facing the pain of their loss. Our thoughts are with everyone who was impacted by this tragedy.”
Sheriff’s investigators were notified of the husband’s death by the Los Angeles Police Department after they responded to the Pacoima facility and found the deceased firefighter.
The couple has a 6-year-old son, and he was home at the time of the fatal shooting.
“We don’t know if he witnessed the incident,” Coleman said. “He’s with family and we’ll interview the child at a later time.”
The lieutenant said the man took his son after the shooting and dropped him off a family member’s house before heading to the facility.
The boy was in the care of relatives following the shooting, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
Detectives said they have recovered a weapon.
A motive in the case — which was being investigated as a murder-suicide — was unknown, and Coleman said it was unclear what the couple had been arguing about.
He stated at the news conference that investigators would look into whether the couple had a history of marital problems, or whether there had been any reports of domestic violence at the residence.
“It’s tragic that it comes to ending like that, and especially when there is a child involved,” Coleman said. “Certainly the families are really going to be affected by it, and our great concern right now is the well-being of the child. How he’s going to move forward with both parents gone.”
Hoschet’s fellow deputies have established a GoFundMe account “in an effort to contribute to (her) son’s future.”
KTLA’s Ashley Soley-Cerro and John A. Moreno contributed to this report.