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STOCKTON, Calif. – An 88-year-old woman and two of her nieces were killed in an apparent triple murder-suicide in California that left two people, including the suspected gunman, dead at an upscale senior home, police said.
Investigators believe Colin McGrattan, 45, killed his ex-wife, Jackie Arata, 57; her sister, Kathleen Arata, 64; and the women’s aunt, Chizuko Kenishi, before shooting himself at the senior home on Monday.
Investigators said they were looking into whether a financial disagreement prompted the violence.
The deaths brought to nine the number of people killed in a 51-hour period in Stockton, an agricultural city in Northern California.
Police investigating the triple murder-suicide said they initially found Kathleen Arata shot to death at her home near the University of the Pacific.
A minivan spotted leaving the scene was located minutes later at the senior home, where police found the bodies of Kenishi and McGrattan inside a room.
“We are looking at the aspect of did he take his own life?” police spokesman Joe Silva said.
Investigators later found Jackie Arata in the back of her ex-husband’s minivan.
The killings occurred during a violent three-day stretch in Stockton, which has now seen 59 homicides so far this year – one more than the 58 in all of 2011.
Also Monday, a 31-year-old man and a 23-year-old were shot and killed in south Stockton in a possible gang-related shooting, police said.
The string of killings began Saturday with the brazen lunchtime shooting of a man outside a fast-food restaurant.
Two other fatal shootings occurred late Saturday and early Sunday.