GILROY (CBS SF) – A 27-year-old Iraq War veteran was found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near the body of his sister inside their Gilroy apartment on Wednesday night, and investigators consider the case a murder-suicide, police said Thursday.

The man’s 52-year-old mother, who also lives at the home, is missing, and police fear she may be critically injured or dead, Sgt. Chad Gallacinao said.

Police were called to the apartment at 9005 Kern Ave. around 9 p.m. after a roommate who lived with the family called police suspecting something was wrong.

Officers found the bodies of Abel Gutierrez and his 11-year-old sister, along with evidence suggesting that Gutierrez had shot his sister before turning the gun on himself, police said.

There were also indications that his mother, Martha Gutierrez, had been critically injured, but she was not at the home and police are following several leads to determine her whereabouts.

KCBS’ Bob Butler Reports:

“We’re desperately trying to find her,” Gallacinao said. He said she might require immediate medical attention.

Gilroy police had responded to several calls at the apartment recently.

Family members had suspected that Abel Gutierrez was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, and police were helping the family coordinate treatment services with the Office of Veterans Affairs.

Authorities have not released the girl’s name, but Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent Deborah Flores said she was a sixth grader at South Valley Middle School, which has 725 students enrolled in sixth, seventh and eighth grades.

Flores received a call early Thursday morning informing her that one of the middle school’s students had been shot and killed. About 10 counselors were brought to the school and met with students at the library Thursday.

“We had students going to the library all day to meet with the counselors,” Flores said.

A few students had to be sent home because they were so upset, she said. Flores added the 11-year-old’s three teachers were also upset upon hearing about their student’s murder.

Gilroy police are asking anyone with information about Martha Gutierrez’s whereabouts to call Detective Michael Bolton at (408) 846-0350.


(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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