Brothers Aged 12 and 10 Found Dead in Possible Murder-Suicide
Cops Say The Boys' Father Was the Owner of the Gun Used in the Shootings
July 28, 2010 —
The backyard shooting deaths of two young brothers, only 10 and 12 years old, are believed to have been the result of a double suicide or a murder-suicide, according to police.
The apparent weapon that was used was a handgun that belonged to their father.
A family member discovered Bryan Gonzalez, 12, and his younger brother Christian, 10, just after noon on Tuesday, according to San Bernardino County sheriff's spokeswoman Cindy Bachman.
Bachman said that the boys were pronounced dead on the scene. An official autopsy report is expected later this week.
"It remains to be a death investigation and the investigators have assured us that they're not looking for any suspects," said Bachman. "They said it's very likely that this incident involved only the two boys."
"However, the investigators want to take the time with the case and they have not completely ruled out the possibility of foul play, but they have assured us they aren't looking for any suspects," said Bachman.
The boys were found in a ravine on the Chino Hills, Calif., ranch where their family lived in a double mobile home, according to Bachman. A handgun that was found at the scene is confirmed to have belonged to their father.
It was not immediately clear whether the gun had been locked up or where it was usually stored, she said.
"I've never heard of anything like this," said Bachman. "It's unusual to say the least. It's very disturbing."
"I mean, they were just 10 and 12. We don't even think of children at this age of [being capable] of hurting themselves," she said. "They were in elementary school."
The brothers were students at Butterfield Ranch Elementary school, located just a mile from where they lived. On Tuesday night, classmates and friends constructed a makeshift memorial for the boys .
Why Do Young Kids Kill?
"It's heartbreaking," Cameron Rogers, a classmate who had traveled to Disneyland with the older of the two brothers last month, told ABC's Los Angeles affiliate KABC . "But he's in a better place right now."
Authorities said that the two boys had lived at the mobile home with their mother and father. There is no number listed for the home.
Forensic psychologist N.G. Berrill, who has not treated the Gonzalez family, told ABC News that he wonders what was going on inside the home to make these young boy feel so helpless.
"When you get kids who are feeling that overwhelmed at that age and resort to such graphically violent means to kill themselves or one another, it raises a lot of very serious questions," said Berrill.
"Whatever was going on was sufficient to literally overwhelm two siblings and have them reach the decision of killing themselves," he said. "That is such an enormous decision for a kid, but it's particularly sad because we know that they don't understand the full scope or ramifications of what they're doing."
Berrill said that unlike adults, who can think about the future and might consider reasons why not to kill themselves, children focus primarily on present day.
"Adults have enough experience that they can say 'this is a terrible time but I have strengh to live through it and find remedies,'" said Berrill. "When you're a kid, you live a lot in the here and now."
"That's why I think that their circumstances had to be so desperate because they saw no alternative," he said.
"Their lack of maturity makes it that much more tragic."