Owner Of Unified Homes Among 4 Victims In California Shooting
The owner of a Southern California real estate business was fatally shot this week along with multiple family members when a gunman attacked the company’s office and carried out what police have described as a “massacre.”
The shooting happened Wednesday night at Unified Homes, a company in Orange, California, that according to its website focuses on real estate and mobile home sales. Police have said the shooting left a man, two women and a 9-year-old boy dead.
Though police had not yet identified the victims as of Friday morning, Luis Tovar Jr. told NBC 4 that his father, 50-year-old Luis Tovar Sr., owned the company and was among the victims. He also said his mother Blanca Tomayo and half brother were among those killed, and that the fourth deceased victim was an employee at the firm.
Vania Tovar, another of Tovar Sr.’s adult children, confirmed to the Orange County Register that her father owned Unified Homes and died in the shooting. She went on to describe him as “the most amazing dad and grandfather.”
“He was extremely outgoing, but serious when he needed to be,” Vania Tovar told the Register. “He was hilarious. He was everything.”
Tovar Jr. told NBC 4 that his father “was a hard-working guy.”
“He always put his family first,” Tovar Jr. said. “Always put others in front of himself.”
Scott Clark, the owner of a neighboring business, similarly described Tovar Sr. as hardworking.
“He’s there day and night,” Clark told NBC 4.
The Orange Police Department did not immediately respond to Inman’s request for comment Friday. Members of the Tovar family also could not immediately be reached, and few details about the other victims were publicly available Friday.
Police first learned of a shooting in a small office complex at about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The first officers arrived while shots were still being fired, according to CNN, but were initially unable to get inside because the complex’s gate had been locked from the inside. Police ultimately opened fire, and after eventually forcing their way through the gate found the suspect, who was wounded.
Police later identified the suspected shooter as Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez. Though details about Gonzalez’s alleged motive have not been released, Orange Police Department officials said in a Thursday news conference that he had a “business and personal relationship” with the victims and the shooting was not a random act of violence.
Police have also said Gonzalez’s wife previously worked at Unified Homes two years ago, NBC 4 reported, though it was not immediately clear if or how that connection was a factor in the shooting.
In addition to the four people who died, a fifth victim reportedly was wounded and taken to a local hospital. Tovar Jr. said the fifth victim is his sister, who remains hospitalized, though police have also not officially confirmed the surviving victim’s identity.
During a Thursday news conference, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer described the shooting as a “horrific massacre,” CNN reported.
Though many questions about the shooting remained unanswered Friday, the situation highlights the danger that members of the real estate industry can sometimes face. Earlier this year, for example, a 15-year-old allegedly robbed and killed a Florida agent. Last year, a Keller Williams agent in Virginia was attacked while doing an open house. She survived, but suffered serious injuries that required a lengthy recovery period.
And in 2019, an agent was killed while trying to evict tenants from a building he managed. Such incidents have made agent safety a recurring topic of discussion in the industry.
This week’s shooting may reignite those conversations. But for the time being, friends and family of the victims were expressing shock and sympathy.
“Rest in peace brother,” one person commented Thursday on a recent picture Tovar Sr. had posted. “Your memories take me back to a happier place and time. Still finding it hard to believe.”
“My deepest condolences to the family,” another said on the Facebook photo. “Will be praying for all.”