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Michael John Morey, 54

Michael John Morey, a 54-year-old white man, was fatally shot in the 2200 block of Batson Avenue in Rowland Heights, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.

A group of people were having a New Year’s Eve celebration at a home when Morey fatally shot his son’s bedridden mother, his girlfriend and a friend, said Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina.

His son, Christopher Morey, a 33-year-old white man, wrestled the gun away from his father and shot him once, killing him, officials said.

The four victims, including Ernesto Calzadilla, 27, Linda Patricia Merrell, 48, and Betty Jean Morey, 54, were all pronounced dead at 8:40 p.m.

Corina said the group had been drinking at the time, and that investigators were trying to determine whether a dispute between the father and his girlfriend over the use of the washing machine played a role in the shooting.

Over the last three years, sheriff’s deputies had been to the residence 25 times, after neighbors or others reported disturbances in the low-slung ranch homes that dotted the neighborhood.

Christopher Morey was arrested after the shooting and booked on suspicion of murder, but was released two days later due to insufficient evidence, Corina said.

Deputies presented the case on Jan. 13 to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. The office had not yet made a decision, a district attorney’s spokeswoman said.

On New Year’s Day, relatives of Morey declined to speak to reporters. Neighbors said Morey’s family was friendly and had barbecues in the yard, but they drank frequently and could sometimes be loud.

Bottles of Bud Light were stacked on shelves near the front door of the house, filling a laundry basket and a cardboard box. Those who knew Morey and his father said the two cared for Morey’s mother, bedridden after suffering a series of strokes. Morey’s father worked long hours, they said, and caring for the mother took its toll on both men.

“They had to do everything for her,” said Sean Tubbs, 27, who grew up with Morey.

Tubbs and others said Morey’s father was not particularly welcoming toward guests. One family friend said he always carried a gun.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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