Five years ago, after a distraught father held his two kids at gunpoint for nine hours, police gave him 10 minutes to surrender. With one minute to go, he killed himself, his 8-year-old son and his 5-year-old daughter.
So late last week, when another distraught man took his two young daughters hostage less than a mile away from the 1993 slayings, police sought to avoid a second tragedy, choosing to wait in hopes that the father would eventually surrender.But the end was the same.
Carlos Joseph Ramirez shot his 1-year-old and 3-year-old girls to death before turning the gun on himself - on the fifth anniversary of the other murder-suicide.
"It is too eerie," Joe Appel, a lawyer who represented the wife of the first killer, told the Contra Costa Times. "July 11. Antioch. I looked at that today and I said, `Deja vu all over again.' "
The latest tragedy unfolded late Saturday night, 42 hours after Ramirez, 22, forced his way into the home of ex-girlfriend Cami Viramontes and took his two daughters hostage.
Viramontes, the mother of the two girls, and her parents were forced out of the home. Ramirez shot and wounded her father.
During the nearly two-day ordeal, police constantly talked with Ramirez by telephone. Friends outside held a banner that read: "Carlos, we love you."
Then suddenly, negotiations went sour.
Police said Ramirez cried out: "What is wrong with me?" Then, "Oh, my God, I love you," followed by the countdown, "5, 4, 3, 2 . . ."
Shortly thereafter negotiators heard what they believed was a gunshot, police Lt. Rich Marchoke said early Sunday. Police were unable to re-establish contact with Ramirez.