Monday, February 25, 2008
Ian Mercado Apparently Is Lone Witness To Carnage in Orland and Nicole Cho Household Update 3-14-08
Carnage caused by the deterioration of the family unit continues. Ian Mercado, a 14-year-old boy apparently was the lone survivor of what police believe was a murder-suicide. Five of the boys family members are dead. A neighbor called 911 late Saturday to report gun shots. When police arrived, , the teen said his father had shot him and his brother. The condo complex is located in Yorba Linda, about 40 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Three children were dead from gunshot wounds. The mother was found dead on the doorstep, according to Lt. Jack Conklin of the Brea Police Department. Authorities believe the father was the gunman. Dead are Orland Cho, 41; Maricel Cho, 39; Nicole Cho, 9; Kathleen Cho, 8; and Christopher Cho, 5. The surviving teen, Ian Mercado, is believed to be the woman's son from a previous relationship.
Ian Mercado, was shot in the lower torso and underwent surgery at a hospital. Police can't interview him until Monday because he remained sedated. He gave police a brief statement at the scene, recounting what he told the 911 dispatcher. He was unaware that his mother and sisters had also been shot.
Jun Cho, a cousin, apparently told the A.P. that Orland Cho was overworked and frustrated with a troubled marriage. Cho apparently grew up in the Philippines. Cho worked long hours in the cargo department at Los Angeles International Airport. Later he worked selling cell phones and life insurance. According to his cousin, he could never make his wife happy. But Jun Cho told the newspapers, "He loved his kids... They were the most precious thing that ever happened to him."
Update 3-14-08: According to police, “Everything points so far that it was (the stepfather) who pulled the trigger, but we want to be sure the physical evidence supports what his testimony is."Apparently more than five shots were fired. Mercado apparently had a wound on one of his hands in addition to his torso. A neighbor reported shots fired and two minutes later Mercado called 911, saying his father shot him and his brother.Police found three children and two adults dead.
Los Angeles County and Orange County records indicate that Orland Cho was charged with fraud and possessing a gun whose identifying marks had been removed in 1994, but both cases were dismissed. He was charged with speeding and driving under the influence in 1995; he was convicted on the speeding charge but the DUI was dismissed.
The couple apparently separated in 2004. Maricel apparently applied for welfare assistance; however, it was determined that Orland was able to pay child support. The agency apparently got Cho to agree to pay back the payments the county had made to his family.
Nicole, Kathleen and Christopher attended Mabel Paine Elementary School. Nicole, a fourth-grader, excelled in every subject especially math. Kathleen, a straight-A third-grader, excelled in art. Christopher, a kindergartner, had recently received a certificate for good behavior. Ian, an eighth-grader at Yorba Linda Middle School, is a good student who is popular.
Neighbor Debbie Bellerose told KCLA9 TV. “How bad can life be, but there are things that you can do to help yourself, it doesn’t have to come to this." Yorba Linda is a an almost crime-free suburb in Orange County. The city rarely has a single homicide in a year. CNN lists the city as the 21st best place in the US (the second highest-ranked California city in the survey.) Yorba Linda is also the richest US city according to Census data showing median household income of $121,075. Yorba Linda may never be the same.