Family Murder-Suicide Leaves 6 Dead In LA

Los Angeles County Coroners remove one of the six bodies found at a home in a gated community in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Porter Ranch area of Los Angeles on Oct. 6, 2008. An unemployed accounting industry worker who was despondent over financial problems shot and killed his wife, three children, mother-in-law and then himself in an upscale home in a gated community, police said.
Los Angeles police say a man took responsibility for killing himself and five family members in notes left behind at the scene of a murder-suicide in Porter Ranch.

Forty-five-year-old Karthik Rajaram was found dead this morning with a gun in his hand by police officers who went to the home after his wife failed to show up at a neighbor's house to go to work.

LAPD Deputy Chief Michel Moore says investigators found two suicide letters and a will. Moore says the notes indicated Rajaram was despondent over extreme financial problems and felt killing himself and his family was the honorable thing to do.

Besides Rajaram the dead include his 69-year-old mother-in-law, Indra Ramasesham, his 19-year-old son, Krishna Rajaram, two other sons, ages 12 and 7 and his 39-year-old wife.

The bodies were found by officers making a welfare check Monday morning when the wife failed to show up at a neighbor's home to go to work, Deputy Chief Michel Moore said.

Officers entering the large, modern home in the San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Porter Ranch found the older woman shot to death in bed, he said. The other bodies were found throughout the house but not in bed.

Investigators found envelopes containing one suicide note to police, another to friends and relatives and a will.

The father had a master's of business administration in finance, formerly worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and Sony Pictures, but had been unemployed for several months, Moore said.

Moore did not specify what financial trouble the man had been in. He noted that the family did not own the home.

In the suicide letters, "he attests to some financial difficulties, takes responsibility for the taking of the lives of his family members and himself as a result of those financial difficulties," Moore said. "We believe that he has become despondent recently over financial dealings and the financial situation of his household."

PricewaterhouseCoopers spokesman Steven Silber had no immediate comment. Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman Steve Elzer did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

The killings happened sometime after 6 p.m. Saturday, Moore said.

The gated community, called Sorrento Pointe, is among several developments along curving lanes and cul-de-sacs set on the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains in Porter Ranch, about 23 miles northwest of downtown.

Ryan Ransdell, who lives across the street from the house, said it had been occupied by the family for about a year.

"They didn't socialize too much," he said. "They kept pretty much to themselves."

Ransdell said he didn't hear any gunshots on Saturday night.