Friends blame police for murder-suicide

November 10, 2009 4:02:32 PM PST
On Saturday night, San Jacinto Sheriff Deputies were called to a home where they found four people dead from an apparent murder suicide. Now friends of those killed say deputies had plenty of time to prevent it from happening, but ignored their calls for help. Neighbors describe the man as one of the nicer people you could ever meet. Few even seemed to realize that Oliver "Bubba" Bills struggled with a mental illness. But his friends say it was that mental illness that pushed him to shoot and kill those he loved most in this world. They don't blame Bills for what he did Saturday as much as they do the sheriff's department for failing to stop him.

Inside the home of Bills, friends saw the signs on Saturday morning.

"I knew something was very wrong," Mark Campbell said.

Campbell says he and Bills' 71-year-old mother, Gloria, called the San Jacinto Sheriff's Office repeatedly that afternoon.

"We told them he's off his medication. He's not acting right. He has a history of mental illness. He has guns in the house. The girlfriend is terrified to death to be out there," said Campbell.

But he says it wasn't until much later, some eight hours after their first call for help, that deputies finally showed up. When they did, it was too late to do anything.

"The officer came upon the bodies in the house," said Captain Carl Jones of the San Jacinto Sheriff's Office.

Capt. Jones said that day Bills shot and killed his mother, his girlfriend and her four-year-old daughter, then turned the gun on himself.

When we asked him if he felt like there was a delay in deputies getting out there, Capt. Jones replied, "No, ma'am."

The captain would not tell us how many calls the department received that day or what time they came in, but he says there was no reason to think Bills was dangerous, only sick, and so deputies did not prioritize those calls.

The sheriff's office is now investigating their response, but so far don't seem to see any evidence of wrongdoing. Campbell, of course, sees things differently.

"They didn't do their job," said Campbell.

And the results, he says, are tragic.

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