Los Angeles: An unemployed and despondent Porter Ranch man killed five family members and then himself, this past weekend.
On October 6, 2008 at around 8:20 a.m. Officers from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Devonshire Division were sent to the 20600 block of Como Lane to conduct a welfare check on the residents who lived there. A family friend became concerned when one of the victims, uncharacteristically, failed to show up for her ride to a Los Angeles area pharmacy. Because it was so out of character for the victim to not show up or call, the person she normally rode to work with went to the residence to check on her. When the friend arrived and noticed newspapers in the driveway and no activity inside the home, they became alarmed and immediately called police.
When Officers arrived they did not get a response to their knocks at the door. Unable to detect any activity inside, the Officers entered the residence and quickly discovered the six dead bodies in the bedrooms of the home, some still in their beds.
Detectives from Robbery Homicide Division are investigating what appears to be a clear case of murder-suicide. Neighbors reported they last saw the suspect, 45 year-old Karthik Rajaram, Saturday evening at around 6:00 p.m. It is believed that the murder-suicide occurred between that time and early Monday morning when the Officers found the bodies.
Only two of the five victims have been identified. Rajaram’s 69-year-old mother-in-law Indra Ramasehan was found in a downstairs bedroom with a gunshot wound to the head. Rajaram’s
19-year-old son Krishna Rajaram was found in bed, in the upstairs master bedroom; he too had been shot in the head. Krishna was an honors student attending UCLA on a full scholarship.
Rajaram’s wife, 39, was found in an upstairs bedroom, in bed, with a gunshot wound to the head. The couples 12-year-old son was found on the floor of an upstairs bedroom with gunshot wounds to his body and head. The 7 year old was in the same room, lying in bed, shot in the head. Rajaram was found on the floor of the same room with his 12 and 7-year-old boys. He had a self inflicted gunshot wound to the head and was found with the gun still in his hand.
The Los Angeles County Coroner’s office will release the names of the wife and two younger boys once they have been positively identified.
Investigators located three separate envelopes in the home, one addressed to law enforcement. In it Rajaram took full responsibility for the murders of his family members and subsequent suicide, blaming economic hardships. The second envelope was labeled “Personal & Confidential” and was addressed to associates of the family. The third envelope contained Rajaram’s Last Will & Testament. He had been unemployed for the past several months, but previously held positions with Price Waterhouse and Sony Pictures and had earned an MBA in Finance.
Crisis response teams from the Mayor’s office were on scene all day offering support and help to family, friends, and neighbors of the victims. The Los Angeles Unified School District Police assisted in coordinating crisis response teams to respond to the schools where the two youngest boys attended.
The Office of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has put out a helpful list of resources that is attached to this news release. It can be used by families or individuals who find themselves in difficult situations. It is evident that Rajaram had been contemplating his actions for several weeks, but never reached out for help. The Los Angeles Police Department wants to reassure and encourage citizens that there is help available. There is no need to suffer alone. Help is just a phone call away.
Anyone with information regarding this tragedy are asked to call Devonshire Division Homicide Detectives Doerbecker or Fajardo at 818-832-0556. After hours or on weekends, calls may be directed to a 24-hour toll free number 1-877-LAWFULL(529-3855) or by texting CRIMES (274637) and beginning the message with the letters LAPD. Tipsters may also submit a web tip on our website at www.lapdonline.org.