SAN JOSE, Calif. (KRON) — Two San Jose families are shattered with grief and shock in the wake of a double murder and suicide.
Erica Chanon Pantoja was at home with her six children when Pantoja’s estranged husband showed up at their north San Jose apartment complex on Sunday, according to police. He was armed with a gun.
An altercation escalated between the husband and wife as they were standing in a parking area for Crescent Village Circle apartments at 1 a.m., according to police.
When a security guard tried to intervene, the husband shot the guard and Pantoja. The husband killed himself before police officers arrived, police Sgt. Christian Camarillo said.
The security guard, Pantoja, and the gunman were pronounced dead at the scene. The Santa Clara County Coroner’s Office has not yet released the husband’s name.
The couple’s six children, who are all between ages 1-10, are now orphans.
On Wednesday, the San Jose Police Officers Association set up a donation fund to help support the children.
“These children need your help. Six children … lost their mother this past weekend. Please consider donating,” the San Jose Police Department said.
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Pantoja’s sister urged anyone suffering from domestic abuse to report it. “We ask for all people to speak up on domestic abuse. We wish for them to not stay in silence,” Isabel Chanon wrote.
“She didn’t deserve this. She deserved to live a long life with her kids,” Isabel Chanon wrote on Facebook.
As Pantoja’s family mourns her sudden death, a second San Jose family is also heartbroken and reeling in disbelief.
Friends of the murdered security guard told KRON4 that he was just 23 years old.
The guard, Marco Carral Duran, is being hailed as a hero by police and those who knew him.
“He is a hero who protected six kids from the shooter,” Fernanda Duran wrote of her brother.
Duran recently began working as a security guard because he wanted to help support his mother and four younger siblings, his family said.
Fernanda Duran wrote on a GoFundMe page, “He was a shoulder to lean on while our mother raised the four of us on her own. Marco was our oldest brother, and he dreamt of being a UFC Champ; he trained, watched UFC fights, and was determined. He was training at the American Kickboxing Academy, but when Covid hit, he put his dream aside to be able to provide for our family.”
Duran’s sister wrote, “We are all in a state of shock. We are all in unbelievable grief with this senseless murder.”