Death of two boys suspected to be murder-suicide or suicide pact

RIVERSIDE, Calif. _ Homicide investigators suspect that the two young brothers found shot to death Tuesday morning near their family’s home in Chino Hills, east of Los Angeles, was the result of either a murder-suicide or a suicide pact, but added it will be difficult to positively determine.

                The 10-year-old and 12-year-old suffered gunshot wounds and the handgun used was found near the bodies. However, there were no signs of a struggle and there are no outside suspects in the case, San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Frank Bell said Wednesday.

                “Whether it was murder-suicide, or suicide pact, unfortunately we’ll never know for sure,” Bell said. “It’s hard to believe, to wrap your head around.”

                Bell added that there also were no indications of trouble at home or signs of abuse. The boys recently had received a minor punishment for not doing their chores, but it was nothing out of the ordinary, he said. The parents have been fully cooperating with investigators.

                “The kids were well taken care of, and the house was in order,” Bell said.

                Authorities said they received a call shortly before noon from a family member who discovered the bodies of Bryan Gonzalez, 12, and Christian Gonzalez, 10. They were found about 60 feet behind the Gonzalez home, which is on a ranch.

                The boys were pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsies were being conducted on Wednesday.

                As the investigation progresses, investigators will try to determine if the firearm used in the shooting was properly secured, which is required under state law, Bell said. The handgun belonged to the boy’s father, he said.

                “There are laws that require that guns be kept secure and inaccessible to those under 18,” Bell said. “That’ll be something looked at down the road.”