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INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- A man found dead at the property where five members of a Southern California family were shot -- two fatally -- was believed to be the attacker because he was wearing body armor and clutching a handgun, police said.
The loaded handgun was a .38 caliber revolver registered to 55-year-old Desmond John Moses. Inglewood police say Moses set his backyard bungalow ablaze before spraying bullets at his neighbors.
Investigators suspect Moses blamed the young family who lived in the front house for an eviction notice he had received from their landlord.
The dead man had "what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head," wore body armor and carried additional ammunition in his pockets when it was found late Saturday, a police statement said.
While police could not conclude that the body is that of Moses until an autopsy is concluded, "the evidence suggests this is the case," the statement added.
The shooting rampage before dawn Saturday killed 33-year-old Filimon Lamas and his 4-year-old son. The father was shielding three of his children when he was shot, Police Chief Mark Fronterotta said. Lamas' 28-year-old wife, Gloria Jimenez, was shot in both legs but managed to carry the wounded 4-year-old out of the house.
Paramedics found her collapsed on the street. The child, who was shot in the head, died at a hospital.
Investigators believe Moses entered the family's home around 4 a.m. wearing a dark cap and a white painter's mask, according to NBCLosAngeles.com.
Authorities said he fired 10 times, also wounding a 7-year-old girl in the chest and a 6-year-old boy in the pelvis. An 8-year-old boy escaped injury.
The mother and daughter remained hospitalized in stable condition, Lt. James Madia said. The 6-year-old boy was released.
Authorities launched a manhunt and evacuated surrounding homes after the shooting rampage, but it was not until hours later that they found the charred body because it was hidden under layers of debris.
"He was kind of a hoarder or pack rat," Madia said.
Fighting eviction notice
The landlord told the Los Angeles Times that Moses had been fighting an eviction notice and recently lost his case in court.
The newspaper reported Sunday that Moses has held a security guard registration with the California Department of Consumer Affairs since 1984. However, police said they did not know whether he was working as a security guard.
Moses lived in the bungalow for 17 years, while the family lived in the front house for 8 years, Madia said. The front house is next door to the home in which Jimenez grew up and where her father still lives. Several of her siblings live on the same block, the Times reported.
Jimenez had been concerned that Moses was "not all there," her brother Jaime told the Times. He said that Moses would only grunt when the family greeted him and complained when the children played in the yard between their houses.
High school sweethearts
Relatives told the Times that Lamas and Jimenez were high school sweethearts who recently got approval for a home loan, and were looking to buy a bigger house for their tight-knit family.
Lamas was part owner of a local diner, neighbors and friends told the newspaper.
"All he breathed was his family," Jiminez's brother Jaime told the Times.
"All he did, all he talked about, was his family," he told the paper.
The Associated Press and NBCLosAngeles.com contributed to this report.