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Deputies Unsure Whether Death Is Murder or Suicide

Police say that what initially appeared to be a suicide Wednesday morning is now being investigated by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department as a potential homicide.

Updated at 10:45 p.m. Wednesday to reflect new information from Sheriff's deputies.

Sheriff's detectives were "wavering between" suicide or murder as the cause of death of a woman in Hermosa Beach Wednesday, a deputy said.

The victim's husband told officers that the 43-year-old woman shot herself in their home in the 600 block of Eighth Street shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday, Deputy Mark Pope of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau said.

According to deputies, witnesses heard an argument inside the house followed shortly after by a gunshot.

When Hermosa Beach police first arrived on the scene, they found the female victim with a "gunshot wound to the upper torso," said Pope.

The woman was taken to a hospital where she was declared dead, Pope said. Her name was not released.

  • Earlier:

Deputies said the victim's husband was initially detained and questioned but was not taken into custody.  No charges have been filed against him.

Hermosa Beach police Sgt. Bob Higgins told Patch earlier in the day that having LASD investigate a death in Hermosa Beach Police Department jurisdiction is not uncommon.

"They routinely investigate our homicides or potential homicides," Higgins said. He also said that when deputies take over the media aspect of the investigation, as they did Wednesday, they plan to have the case for awhile.

On Wednesday night, neighbors told Patch that the husband of the victim was back at the home where the death occurred.  Knocks on the door went unanswered.

A trail of blood running from the home's front door to the driveway was clearly visible from the sidewalk and multiple passersby, including a man walking his golden retriever, stopped to look at the scene.

Neighbors also told Patch that the couple had just recently moved into the house.

Another neighbor, Cat Gimple, said she knew the couple simply as "the people with the two dogs." There was no sign of the dogs at the house Wednesday afternoon.

"Everyone was just sort of stunned this morning," Gimple said.

Anyone with information on the death was asked to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Check back with Patch as more information becomes available.

—City News Service contributed to this report.

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