Resident of burned-down mobile home committed suicide

Coroner: Man found in Dec. 2 fire took his own life

The county coroner's office has ruled that the man found dead inside his burned-down unit in a Mountain View mobile home park took his own life.

Leroy Beal died of a self-inflicted shotgun wound to the mouth, according to an official with the Santa Clara County Medical Examiner-Coroner's Office.

Beal's body was discovered by firefighters on Dec. 2, after the Mountain View Fire Department extinguished the blaze that tore through his unit early that morning at the Santiago Villa mobile home park, located at 1075 Space Park Way.

Two residents of Santiago Villa, Gabriel Lujano and Kay Ritchey, both told the Voice that at least one of Beal's neighbors reported hearing a "small explosion" prior to the fire. It is unclear at this time if what they heard was a gunshot or something else.

The fire department's investigation has not been completed, and it is unclear whether the fire was set intentionally. A spokeswoman from the department said investigators were still working to determine the cause of the blaze. "There's nothing we can say at this time," said Jaime Garrett, public information officer for the Mountain View Fire Department.

Ritchey, a six-year resident of the park, said Beal was known as a musician by his friends and neighbors in Santiago Villa. She told the Voice she would often see him on his motorcycle while she was out walking her dog and she would wave.

Betty Cook, manager of the mobile home park, said Beal was well liked by his neighbors. "He was a very quiet person," she said. "He didn't bother anyone."

Check back with the Voice for more details on the cause of the fire.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Curious
a resident of another community
on Dec 24, 2013 at 12:34 pm

Yesterday, someone posted a comment with a link to what looks like Leroy Beal's personal web site, with an electronic suicide note that also mentions starting a fire. That information is public, and would seem to shed fundamental light on this story.

Now the comment is gone. If the Voice itself is not going to amend the story to mention the website and its note -- information already public (apparently since Beal's death some weeks ago, since Google shows the web site not updated since that time), then some explanation or clarification would be helpful. Otherwise, omitting this public information only creates unnecessary further mystery.

[Editor's Note: When the official investigation is complete, and more detail is available and released, we will write about it. Until then, we feel it is not appropriate material for our website.]

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