Paranoia, Depression Dogged Gunman – Cancer diagnosis: Family said he acted erratically — (THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE)

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October 12, 1999

Author: Jaxon Van Derbeken, Chronicle Staff Writer

The 62-year-old security guard who shot three upstairs neighbors to death in San Francisco before killing himself had recently learned that he had incurable pancreatic cancer and had “flipped out,” family members told police.

Lorenzo “Sol” Silva had been prescribed antidepressants by doctors at the Kaiser Medical Center where he was being treated, but he had reacted badly to the drugs in the past two weeks and at times had acted depressed and paranoid, relatives said.

Police are investigating that and other factors in trying to determine why Silva, a guard on the night shift at San Francisco International Airport, went on a rampage Sunday afternoon at his two-story home in the Ingleside District, near San Francisco City College.

Silva took his .357-Magnum revolver upstairs and killed Noel Ridual and his wife, Josephine, both 28, and Maria “Ola” Marquicias, 32, before turning the gun on himself, police said. Although family members said he was a gun collector, a search by police turned up only the one firearm.

The Riduals’ 2-year-old daughter, Jessica, was wounded in the shoulder, apparently by a ricocheted bullet, police said. She was being treated at San Francisco General Hospital and is expected to recover.

Silva had lived in the downstairs unit of the house at 33 De Montfort Ave., a home that he bought with his wife, Flora, in 1976. Silva had worked as a security guard at the airport for 20 years.

Family members said Sunday that they had been worried about his mental condition for some time. They told reporters that he had been unable to sleep unless he was in the same room with his 87-year-old mother, with the light on.

Yesterday, police said doctors had prescribed antidepressants for Silva after the diagnosis of cancer — a diagnosis that relatives believed was incorrect.

“He was apparently upset about his medical condition,” said homicide Inspector Michael Johnson. “The family said he had been diagnosed, possibly misdiagnosed. When they told him, he flipped out — that was their words.”

Johnson said a check of Silva’s past revealed no criminal record.

Silva, his mother and his wife came to the United States from the Philippines in 1972, said his brother, Silvestre Silva.

But Lorenzo Silva’s wife returned to the Philippines last year. Relatives said she was unhappy in the United States.

At some point, Silva had a relationship of some kind with Marquicias, one of his victims, and had been known to stay at her upstairs flat, relatives told police. Johnson said it was unclear what that relationship was.

Silva’s relatives were gathered at a home in Daly City yesterday and declined to comment, other than to say that they had hired an attorney.

Silva had worked his normal shift at the airport the morning of the killings. At 8 a.m., one of his daughters called him and asked if he wanted to attend Mass at St. Emydius Catholic Church near his home, where the Riduals also worshiped, police said.

He declined, and when his daughter called again at 10 a.m., he said he was too tired and wanted to lie down rather than eat breakfast, relatives told police. That was the last his daughter heard from him.

At the time he started shooting, the Riduals were having a midday meal, feeding their 2-year-old as she sat in a high chair.

The Riduals were found dead in the dining room. Marquicias was found in her bedroom. All were shot in the head.