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Son says man suspected in Calif. attack had PTSD

Wednesday - 5/29/2013, 9:00pm  ET

FRESNO, Calif. (AP) -- A California man suspected of shooting two of his adult daughters was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after serving in Vietnam as a Marine, his son said.

Anthony Alvarez Jr. told the Fresno Bee (http://bit.ly/112DIuG ) in a story Tuesday that his mother's death last year and the PTSD might have been too much for his father to bear.

"The war had a lot to do with" his father's state of mind, Alvarez Jr. said. "He just stressed out after my mother died. ... he's never been the same."

Authorities say Anthony "Tony" Alvarez Sr., 63, shot and killed 37-year-old Jennifer Kimble and wounded 33-year-old Valerie Alvarez before apparently taking his life on Monday at their home.

Kimble's three young children were inside the home at the time, authorities said.

Valerie Alvarez remained in critical condition at a Fresno hospital. She has spina bifida, a birth defect, and uses a wheelchair, Alvarez Jr. said. She is employed at a middle school.

The shooting occurred in Orosi, a Central Valley town of about 9,000 about 20 miles southeast of Fresno.

Anthony Alvarez Jr. did not return telephone messages left by The Associated Press.

When asked about PTSD, Tulare County sheriff's spokeswoman Sgt. Chris Douglass said she could not speculate on the motive of the shooting because the shooter is dead.

The elder Alvarez was diagnosed several years ago at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Palo Alto with the disorder.

His wife, Christine Mary Alvarez, died in January 2012, according to an obituary in the Visalia Times-Delta.

Anthony Santoya, a spokesman with the Veterans Affairs hospital in Fresno, said he could not comment on the Alvarez case due to medical privacy rules.

Mental health officials say they still don't fully know how PTSD manifests itself, but they say in many cases symptoms go into partial or complete remission. Some studies indicate as many as 80 percent of people with PTSD also suffer from another psychiatric disorder, making it challenging to make an accurate diagnosis.

Those who have PTSD are prone to acting out, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD. The violent behavior is usually against family members or fellow troops, health professionals say.

After the shooting, deputies located a .45-caliber revolver next to the elder Alvarez and found additional firearms in a locked safe in the home, Douglass said.

The elder Alvarez' three grandchildren, an 8-year-old girl and two boys ages 11 and 13, were present in the home. Douglass declined to say whether they witnessed the violence.

It was the 8-year-old who called 911. Authorities have not released the recording of that call.

The children were reunited with their father, Wilson Kimble, who was at work during the shootings, and are staying at the Visalia home of his sister.

"The kids are a little better. They've got a lot of family support. They got cards from classmates. They got their dog here," Anita Gonzales, the father's sister, told the AP.

But, she said "they are not opening up with anything, they are holding everything in."

Gonzales, who said she went to school with Jennifer Kimble, said she was a great mother.

"She was so involved with all three kids," Gonzales said. "She had really good values and morals that she instilled in them."

A trust fund has been set up at the Bank of the Sierra for Jennifer Kimble to help with funeral and burial expenses.


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