A New Year’s Eve gathering at a home in Rowland Heights, California, turned tragic when the homeowner shot and killed three people, including his bedridden wife, before the man’s son wrestled the gun away and fatally shot him.
Police responded to a 911 call by Christopher Morey, 33, around 8:30 that evening. Inside the home, they found four people shot and killed. The slain included Christopher’s father, Michael John Morey, 54; his mother, Betty Jean Morey, 54; live-in girlfriend, Linda Patricia Merrell, 48; and neighbor Ernesto Calzadilla, 27.
The deadly, alcohol-infused dispute may have stemmed from an argument between Michael and Merrell earlier in the day over the use of a washing machine, the Associated Press reports.
Christopher told investigators the incident escalated and at some point his father pulled out a handgun and shot his mother, girlfriend and Calzadilla. Christopher was then able to wrestle the gun away from his father, at which point he fatally shot him.
Christopher was initially booked into jail Thursday night on suspicion of murder and held on a $1 million bond, but was released Saturday. No charges have been filed against him at this time.
The Los Angeles Times reports friends of the family said Betty suffered a series a strokes, was bedridden and completely incapacitated. The father and son tended to the woman’s needs and acquaintances said that often took a toll on the family.
The family’s stress was further fueled by the Morey father’s excessive drinking, according to those who knew him. Calzadilla’s dad, Ronald, told reporters with a local ABC affiliate, that Morey had a collection of more than 100 guns and would often bring them out once he started drinking.
“Once he’d take like two, three beers, the first thing I noticed every time I came here, he … started loading all the guns,” said Calzadilla, who lives about a block from the Morey home.
Calzadilla’s brother, Wilfred, said although Christopher and his girlfriend were nice and always generous, the father was not so welcoming with visitors, and even pulled a gun on Ernesto in the past. Calzadilla said his brother stopped going to the Morey home, but made an exception to go celebrate the New Year with Christopher and his girlfriend.