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UPDATE: 3 dead in apparent murder-suicide at Bridgeport

Posted: August 5, 2011 4:40 p.m.
Updated: August 5, 2011 6:34 p.m.

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station deputies secure the area around a dark colored four door sedan where the bodies of three adults were found dead in front of a home on Bay View Court near Bayside Lane in Bridgeport in Valencia on Friday evening.

A retired local dentist returned from an assisted living home in Los Angeles with his wife’s aging parents, pulled in the driveway of his Bridgeport home and shot both in-laws as they sat in the car, then shot himself, according to a homicide detective detailing the double-murder-suicide in Valencia on Friday.

Although he would not identify the victims by name, Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau identified the shooter as a retired dentist who has lived in the Bridgeport house with his wife as the home’s original owners.

Susan R. Strassner, 61, lives in the Bay View Court house in Bridgeport with her husband, retired dentist Martin F. Strassner, 64.

“Early this afternoon, deputies of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station received a 911 call of the gunshot victims here at the residence,” Corina said. “When they arrived, they found three people inside a car parked in the driveway.

“All three of them were shot,” he said. “It appears that one of the persons in the car had shot the other two.”
Corina said it was the shooter’s wife who called the Sheriff’s Department.

The shooter’s mother-in-law was 90 years old, his father-in-law was 95.

“Our preliminary investigation suggests one of the persons in the car shot the other two and shot himself,” Corina said, adding the mother-in-law sat in the front seat, and her husband was in the backseat.

The killer sat behind the wheel with a handgun, believed to be the murder weapon, in his lap.

“We’re still looking into the motive, and what his state of mind was,” Corina said. “We’re told he suffered from depression.”

The killer left a suicide note, but Corina did not disclose its contents.

“He had just arrived at the house, got out, got back in the car,” Corina said, describing the seconds preceeding the murders.

The killer’s wife and neighbors heard the shots,” he said.

Corina described the killings as planned.

“He planned it, thought about, had written a note, had a gun, and for whatever reason, executed his plan,” Corina said.

Shortly after 3 p.m., the three people were found shot dead inside a sedan parked in the driveway of the suburban Valencia home Friday in what homicide detectives are calling a murder-suicide.

All three victims were adults, all shot inside the dark four-door sedan on Bay View Court in Bridgeport.

“We responded for a call from someone with information about gunshots being fired inside a car,” Huntley said late
Friday afternoon. “She went to a vehicle, at which point she could see three deceased inside the vehicle.”

In front of the house, a dark-colored 2006 Acura sat with its trunk open, an ambulance positioned in the middle of the tiny cul-de-sac.

No patients were taken by ambulance from the two-story, two-door garage.

“Deputies who responded to this address were responding to someone who located three gunshot victims,” Huntley said. “When deputies arrived they, indeed, found three deceased adults dead of gunshot wounds.”

The car was parked in the driveway of the home where Susan Strassner lives with her husband, Martin, off of Bayside Lane, less than a block from Bridgeport Elementary School.

Deputies taped off the street, keeping reporters and spectators out, allowing only a woman with short, gray hair through the tape.

About 30 minutes after she was escorted through the crime scene, a gray-haired man, who also identified himself as a Strassner, was also escorted to detectives.

Susan Strassner, an author who passed the Certified Public Accountancy exam in 1986, retired from a teaching job in 2006. She works as the controller and financial manager for a large group of emergency room physicians in the Los Angeles area.

Her husband worked as a dentist on Camp Plenty in Canyon Country.

Quiet street
A neighbor, who told The Signal she lives across the street from the Strassners, told deputies she had information they might consider valuable.

That woman was also led to deputies at the immediate crime scene.

She was escorted away from the scene 20 minutes later.

“I saw something this morning which I didn’t think was suspicious at the time,” she said before being led to deputies. “I have some information they might want to hear.”

As news of the murder-suicide spread, neighbor children on bikes and skateboards gathered at the police tape that roped off access to Bayside Lane.

Women driving SUVs, several with small dogs in the passenger seats, arrived at the tape and were told they could not enter.

“This is a very quiet community,” said Bridgeport resident Wes Toy.

The Strassners live on the eastern edge of Bridgeport’s manmade lake, tucked inside the southeast corner of McBean Parkway and Newhall Ranch Road.

They were married in Los Angeles in 1969.


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