Mountain View Voice

News - December 27, 2013

Man found in burned mobile home committed suicide

by Nick Veronin

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."

A Voice reader discovered what appears to be a suicide note, published on Beal's personal website.

The Voice will update this story at MV-Voice.com as information becomes available.

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