Southern California breaking news and trends

Laguna Hills man shoots self at Orange gun range in apparent suicide

Photo by mckone.jonna via Flickr Creative Commons

An indoor firing range

A man went to a shooting range in Orange this weekend with suicide in mind rather than target practice, authorities report.

Kenneth Matthew Wells, a 32-year-old Laguna Hills resident, went to Evans Gunsmithing Shooters World, located at 1637 N. Brian Street, on Saturday afternoon, Orange police Sgt. Dan Adams told the Orange County Register. A little before 1:30 p.m., other shooters at the firing range saw Wells fall to the ground. He was discovered dead from a single gunshot to the head.

Police called to the scene said a suicide note was found in Wells’ pocket. The case is being ruled a suicide, Adams said.

On its website, Evans Gunsmithing Shooters World, or EGSW, describes itself as the largest indoor shooting range in Southern California, boasting “on-site gunsmiths, and gun sales, and we carry a wide assortment of accessories and ammo.”


Another dead body found at another LA-area elementary school

miramonte elementary south el monte

Screenshot via Google Maps

Miramonte Elementary School, 10620 Schmidt Rd., South El Monte, CA 91733

For the second time this week, a dead body was discovered on the grounds of a local elementary school.

On Thursday, the body of a man who apparently committed suicide, was found on campus at Miramonte Elementary located in South El Monte (not LAUSD's scandal-strained Miramonte located in an unincorporated area south of downtown LA).

The 18-year-old man's body was found hanging from a piece of playground equipment, said Detective Steve Blagg of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau, reports the Daily News

Michele Earle of the Mountain View School District said staff members discovered the body in the playground at about 7:15 a.m., and the area "was quickly sealed off with tarps to ensure the students could not see the body as they arrived for school," she said.

The school was placed on a "rainy day" schedule, and students were kept inside classrooms and in the cafeteria.


Woman’s body found hanging in tree at Lake View Terrace elementary school

Google Maps

Brainard Elementary School, 11407 Brainard Ave., Lake View Terrace

The Los Angeles County Coroner's Office says the body of a woman was discovered this morning hanging from a tree at a San Fernando Valley elementary school.

Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter says the body was reported at around 7:30 a.m. today at Brainard Elementary School, located at 11407 Brainard Ave. in Lake View Terrace.

Some reports have the call closer to 7 a.m. KTLA reports that the body was found “in a remote corner of the yard area near a storage unit” and adds that classes were not affected.

An LAPD spokesperson told reporters the case was “an apparent suicide” -- suggesting that she hanged herself, although that detail has not been confirmed.

The identity of the woman, said to be in her 30s, has not yet been revealed pending notification of her family.

Los Angeles Unified School District spokeswoman Monica Carazo says children are being kept indoors until the investigation is concluded, and that crisis counselors are on hand.


Woman, 92, sentenced for not filing taxes on 'suicide kits' earnings

Suicide Kit Sentencing

AP Photo/U-T San Diego, Peggy Peattie

92-year-old Sharlotte Hydorn, who sold $40 "suicide kits," was sentenced in federal court in San Diego on Monday, May 7, 2012 for failing to file federal tax returns on her earnings.

For failing to file federal tax returns, a 92-year-old woman who sold suicide kits was sentenced Monday to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

Sharlotte Hydorn, sentenced in San Diego, could have faced a year in prison. 

Hydorn did not have a verification process for her customers, and the case was initially investigated because authorities saw this as a public safety risk, Assistant U.S. Attorney Peter J. Mazza told the court.

There is no federal law prohibiting the sale of such kits. After sentencing, Hydorn, who was selling hers for $40, reportedly said her intention was just to let people die at home, surrounded by family and friends.


Lisa Brenner can be reached via Twitter @lisa_brenner


Chainsaw suicide suspected in Palms (Updated)

chainsaw teeth blade

Photo by Dave Hosford via Flickr Creative Commons

A woman found dead with a chainsaw wound to her neck is thought to have used the tool to commit suicide, say authorities.

Valerie Nash was found dead in her Palms home just after 1 a.m. on Thursday, KTLA reports. Nash's body was reportedly discovered by her sister with whom she shared the Keystone Avenue residence.

Police are investigating the unusual incident, and the L.A. County coroner will make an official determination on the cause of the death. 

A note found by police near the victim's body led to suicide speculation.


This post has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly identified the location as Culver City.