Two Southern California brothers — a 12-year-old who loved skateboarding and a 10-year-old about to start fifth grade — were shot to death with their father's handgun in what could be a double suicide or a murder-suicide, authorities said Wednesday.
The bodies of Bryan Gonzalez and younger brother Christian Gonzalez were found Tuesday by a family member in a dry creekbed behind their Chino Hills mobile home in rural San Bernardino County. The father's gun was found with the bodies.
The boys were each shot once, but other information about their wounds was being withheld because of the ongoing investigation, said Sgt. Frank Bell of the sheriff's homicide unit. Autopsies were underway Wednesday.
Bell said only the boys were involved in the shootings, though investigators were not sure whether they each killed themselves or one killed the other before committing suicide.
There were no suicide notes, and interviews with dozens of people didn't turn up any abuse or other trauma, Bell said.
"We haven't come up with a reason or at least anything that makes sense," Bell said. "They were normal boys as far as anything we've learned, decent family."
Neighbors heard gunshots and deputies were called to the home, nestled in brushy hills about a mile up a poorly paved road about a mile from the boys' elementary school. The bodies were about 60 feet from the family mobile home.
Bell said the gun was kept in a case that wasn't locked.
Sheriff's officials said the results of the investigation will likely be forwarded to the district attorney's office for review to see if there was any criminal conduct because the handgun wasn't secured.
Neighbor Rasiel Santiago, 21, said he heard two gunshots around 10 a.m. Tuesday, separated by about 10 seconds. When he arrived at the school playground a short while later, he saw a swarm of sheriff's squad cars and paramedics at the end of the road leading to the family home.
Parents and classmates of the boys were devastated. Flowers, candles and a poster that had a photo of Bryan during his class trip this year to Disneyland were left near the home.
"It's just tragic. We're all just trying to make sense of it right now," said Robert Gavela, who stood at the end of the boys' street with his 13-year-old daughter Madison.
"It's crazy. It doesn't seem real," Madison said.
Bryan was going into seventh grade this fall. Friends said he dreamed of being a professional football player.