Two dead after 5-hour standoff in San Jose

July 6, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A little girl from the South Bay lost both of her parents on Monday to violence. A domestic dispute turned into a hostage situation at a townhome at Monterey Highway and Umbarger Road in San Jose.

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It was still an active crime scene late on Monday night, at the Montecito Vista townhomes, near the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds. Next-door neighbors were finally allowed into their homes, Monday evening, even though the bodies of the woman and her ex-boyfriend are still inside one of the townhomes.

It began as a hostage situation at a townhome at Monterey Highway and Umbarger Road in San Jose.

Lydia Gomez said her daughter played with the 9-year-old girl whose parents are now dead.

"I can't believe this. This is the beginning, a new beginning for a lot of families," said neighbor Lydia Gomez.

Gomez says her neighbors Shane and Brandi Coffman had just gained custody of Brandi's daughter from her ex-boyfriend.

"When I really had my eyes open, I woke my husband up and said 'Somebody has a gun. Somebody has a gun and it's close by,'" said neighbor Sana Abbasi.

Around 8:30 a.m., a neighbor says Brandi's husband, Shane, escaped from his house, grazed in the ear by a bullet.

Neighbor Tony Gallardo hid Shane in his garage for safety. A short time later the 9-year-old girl escaped.

"He tripped and I asked him if he was okay and he said 'No, there's a man with a gun in my house and he's holding my wife and daughter hostage,'" said neighbor Tony Gallardo.

The girl said her mother had been shot in the arm and her father, the ex-boyfriend, was holding her hostage.

"She didn't look hurt in any way, physically, but she was defiantly started, screaming, crying," said neighbor Kamran Kham.

During a 5-hour stand-off police deployed a robot. Police say they heard more gunshots before deciding to go in. After 2 p.m. the SWAT team went inside the home.

"It's just one of those decisions our command staff made and after using all the diversionary tactics they did use," said Jermaine Thomas, with the San Jose Police.

Police say they found Brandi and her ex-boyfriend dead in separate rooms.

"Now I've got to explain to my daughter that her 9-year-old friend? and this whole situation. I don't even know what I am going to say," says neighbor Dawn Beasley.

On Monday evening, San Jose Police are stopping short of calling this a murder-suicide at least until the coroner can determine the official cause. Police are calling this the 15th homicide of the year.

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