Calexico Murder-Suicide Case Still Raises Questions
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Calexico Murder-Suicide Case Still Raises Questions

CALEXIUS — Did the 61-year-old victim of a murder-suicide committed by her 76-year-old estranged husband find herself in the Calexico One Stop parking lot by accident or on purpose?

That’s just one of the questions Calexico Police Department investigators are asking after the Monday morning homicide, which occurred July 8, when a Holtville woman drove to the One Stop parking lot at 301 Heber Ave. in one car while her husband — a Calexico man from whom she was reportedly going through a divorce — drove in a separate car.

The victim apparently entered the One Stop and said her husband was outside. She then left before shots rang out, according to witnesses interviewed by authorities.

As police try to piece together the whole incident, questions remain as to whether the husband followed his wife to One Stop specifically, or whether she went there out of fear to escape the man who was following her.

“That’s what we think,” Calexico Police Sergeant Cynthia Fraker said Tuesday, July 9.

Fraker said police hope to get a fuller picture of what happened in the coming days. The victim’s family was initially interviewed by authorities Monday afternoon, but Calexico police hope to go back to Holtville on Tuesday to conduct more in-depth interviews.

Meanwhile, the Imperial County Coroner’s Office declined Tuesday afternoon to provide any information about the man and woman.

“Due to the nature of the report, the ongoing investigation, respect for the family and appropriate notification that has not been made, no names will be released at this time,” said Deputy Coroner Alfredo Figueroa.

A GoFundMe fundraiser began circulating around noon Tuesday on social media, claiming the victim was a woman, but without official confirmation, the site has been unable to verify the victim’s identity or provide her name.

Full service

Police were called to One Stop at 8:58 a.m. Monday — the start of the workday, the start of the workweek, at a busy government office. It’s safe to assume that a murder-suicide in a busy parking lot of a busy building would have caused some panic.

While Sgt. Fraker agrees to some extent, she said it wasn’t as bad as one might think.

The building was cleared out through a side door, and Fraker did not have an estimate of how many people were inside at the time of the shooting.

Fraker said the biggest outrage among building residents was the closure of the parking lot — the scene of the crime — and the inaccessibility of cars until the investigation was complete.

“They were angry that they couldn’t get their cars out of the parking lot,” Fraker said.

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Calexico Murder-Suicide Case Still Raises QuestionsCalexico Murder-Suicide Case Still Raises Questions

The sergeant praised Imperial County authorities for mobilizing emergency response for their employees in case anyone felt shocked by the incident.

According to information from the county, services at the One Stop Business and Employment office in Calexico will remain closed through the end of the week.

County officials did not respond to requests for information about other One Stop activities in Calexico.

Calexico One Stop (inset) is located at 301 Heber Ave. There was a murder-suicide there on Monday morning, July 8. | PHOTO BY KIMBER DIAL AND GOOGLE MAP

What do we know

According to a witness, after the Holtville woman entered the One Stop building and told people her husband was outside, she left shortly thereafter.

At that point, she returned to her car in the parking lot, apparently sitting behind the wheel, police said. Another witness said he heard a loud noise and found a woman injured. She had been shot in the head. The 76-year-old man, from Calexico, was found next to the rear wheel of the car, holding a firearm. He had a gunshot wound to the chest.

The wife was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. Officers responded to the scene and kept the man alive until paramedics arrived. He was then airlifted to Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs but had to be referred to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley, where he died, according to Calexico police.

The Calexico Police Department was assisted in the response and investigation by the Imperial County Sheriff’s Office Investigative Unit, the Coroner’s Office, the Imperial County District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Border Patrol.