- Associated Press - Saturday, June 19, 2010

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A gunman attacked his stepdaughter’s family as they ate lunch at a California restaurant, killing her husband and 6-year-old son and wounding the woman and another child, and then fatally shot himself.

Jimmy Schlager, 56, arrived at the Del Taco restaurant in San Bernardino on a bike at about 1 p.m. Saturday, walked over to a table and fired several shots at his 29-year-old stepdaughter, her 33-year-old husband, and their sons, ages 5 and 6, San Bernardino police Lt. Jarrod Burguan said.

“There was a very brief exchange of words, then he opened fire on them at near point-blank range,” Lt. Burguan said.

The woman’s husband was declared dead at the restaurant and the 6-year-old died at a hospital, San Bernardino Fire Department spokesman Steve Tracey said.

The woman and the 5-year-old boy were in critical condition at Loma Linda University Medical Center, Mr. Tracey said. The names of the victims were not released.

The woman’s mother, who was married to Mr. Schlager, died several years ago, and investigators were trying to determine how well Mr. Schlager and his stepdaughter got along as police sought a motive for the shooting, Lt. Burguan said.

Police said between five and seven employees and several other customers were in the fast-food restaurant, but the gunman clearly walked in seeking the four victims and no one else was injured.

Bullet holes marked the walls, and glass covered the floor.

Owners of nearby businesses said horrified patrons streamed out of the restaurant after the shots were fired.

“I saw some people yelling, and all of a sudden I heard, ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom,’” Jorge Garcia, who works at a recycling trailer in the same parking lot as the restaurant, told the Riverside Press-Enterprise. “I saw two employees run out of the employee door, and then I saw eight or 10 people run out of the restaurant and across the street.”

Mr. Schlager, who was from Lancaster in northern Los Angeles County, had an extensive criminal record dating back to 1972 that included assault with a deadly weapon and a restraining order taken out by a co-worker.

Despite living an hour’s drive away, Mr. Schlager had many ties to San Bernardino and once lived just a few blocks from the restaurant, Lt. Burguan said.

Lt. Burguan said the attack on the family was one of the worst crime scenes he could remember in San Bernardino, a city of about 200,000 people some 60 miles east of Los Angeles.

“This was something else,” he said.

Associated Press writer Jackie Quinn contributed to this report.

 

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