Murder/suicide shocks Temecula residents

A Sunday afternoon gathering of two parents and their children turned deadly when sporadic gunfire that erupted in a sun-splashed Temecula golf course neighborhood left two adults and three teens dead.

The deaths, termed ‘a crime of murder and suicide’ by investigators, have brought widespread attention to Temecula and caused troubling questions to ripple through the community. Days later, questions of why and how continued to gnaw at Pete Rosati, who lives next to the Temeku Hills cul-de-sac residence where the killings occurred.

“It would be nice to have some closure, just to put my mind at ease,” Rosati said in an interview at his Iron Circle home on Tuesday.

Rosati recalled standing in his backyard when he heard a rapid volley of two or three shots. The gunfire, Rosati said, caused him to listen, wait and wonder.

About 20 minutes later, another neighbor breathlessly told a police dispatcher that she had heard three shots. In the six-minute 9-1-1 call, Christine Rios said she heard a woman moaning and noises that sounded like firecrackers. She said a vehicle – a truck – might have left the home after the noises.

Rios then told the dispatcher that she and her husband had spotted a body in the backyard next door.

Narissa Katherine Williams, 15, was alive at the residence when police arrived. She was rushed to Inland Valley Regional Medical Center in Wildomar, where she died about a few hours later.

In the backyard, the sole resident of the home, 45-year-old Jeffrey Blixt, who was separated from his second wife, was the first to be found dead at 5:56 p.m., according to the Riverside County coroner.

The man’s 17-year-old son, Matthew Blixt, was found next. Two minutes later, the body of Jeffrey Blixt’s 34-year-old girlfriend of a few months, Naomi Grangroth, was found in the yard nearby.

Inside the house, police found the body of Nikita Daniel Williams, 15, the twin sister of Narissa Williams. The girls, students at Great Oak High School in south Temecula, were Grangroth’s daughters.

Police did not immediately confirm a newspaper report indicating that Blixt’s daughter, also a teenager, had fled the home at the time of the shooting but was not injured. Investigators also have not disclosed the type or ownership of the gun found at the home or identified the killer in Temecula’s worst mass killing in more than a decade.

As police continued to probe the scene and collect evidence, family friends, community residents and students struggled to put together the pieces. Many of them were drawn to the home where the tragedy had unfolded. Some of them left balloons, flowers, teddy bears, poems and cards on the home’s doorstep.

Al Duarte, who described himself as a best friend of Jeffrey Blixt, drove from Corona to offer his help to Naomi Grangroth’s sister, whom he had hoped to find at the house.

It seems like just yesterday, he mused, that he was helping Naomi Grangroth move into her new home in Temecula’s wine country. His thoughts returning to the present, Duarte next pondered the sudden absence of his friend.

“I can’t believe he’s gone,” said Duarte. “He was a great individual, always willing to help anybody.”

Duarte said he hadn’t detected any problems or sign of trouble while his friend divorced and launched a new relationship.

“All I know is that he loved his children,” Duarte said. “I thought he was headed in the right direction. He was really happy.”

Duarte said he had seen Blixt’s son once. He said the teen was quiet and kept to himself at that time.

Joanie C. Wdowiak said she learned of the death of her friend, Naomi Grangroth, and her daughters through media reports and by telephoning a mutual acquaintance.

Wdowiak said she worked with the 34-year-old single mother at Douglas E. Barnhart Inc., a San Diego-based construction-management firm, for a two-year period that ended in 2005.

“We both worked on the [company’s] Great Oak High School job site,” Wdowiak said in a telephone interview. “She was the project engineer and I was the office manager. We worked side by side for a long time. She was such a hard worker.”

Wdowiak said her friend likely did not have an inkling that the Iron Circle gathering could turn deadly.

“She was a single mom and if she thought [her daughters] were in any danger she would have not taken them there,” Wdowiak said.

She knew Grangroth had not lived with Blixt. She urged people in the community to avoid assessing blame before more facts are known.

“She was bubbly and she was an extrovert,” Wdowiak, a Temecula-area resident, said. “She was not shy and she was funny.”

Grangroth’s daughters enjoyed going to church with their mother, Wdowiak said. She recalled that her friend had described recent weeks as the happiest time of her life.

“The point is that she is gone. I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this and it does not make sense that all three of them are gone,” Wdowiak said. “She was a good person. She will always be a good person and there are a lot of people who are going to miss her.”

Even though the victims were strangers to her, Janet Waters drove to the Iron Circle home to offer her help to any relatives of the deceased who might be there.

“I’ll do anything I can,” Waters, a Temecula resident, said Tuesday as she stood in the driveway of the home.

“There are people here who really care,” Waters said, nodding at the messages and other items that blanketed the home’s doorstep.

Kym Hardy and her son, Noah Smith, 8, came by to deliver a gift that the boy had picked and purchased in the wake of the deaths. After learning of the tragedy from a news program, Noah insisted on giving a gift to the girl who survived.

His mother held out two small wooden crosses he picked out from the store in their church.

“I hope the people go to heaven,” Noah said.

Similar thoughts echoed through Great Oak High School, where students at times gathered in groups Tuesday to remember the twin teens some of them knew and others didn’t.

“It’s very sad; I had a class last year with one of the twins,” said Katelyn Gutierrez, a ninth grade student at the school, where grief counseling was made available to those who asked for it.

“I was shocked when I heard about it. It touched me. It’s very sad,” said Taylor Fenior, a sophomore.

Ninth-grader Alita Bahn, who is herself a twin, said she learned of the tragedy over the school’s morning announcements.

“I used to see one of the twins between classes,” Bahn said. “I saw her on Friday and now she’s gone.”

Valley News editor Shannon Starr and reporters Peter Surowski and Kathy Zelasko contributed to this story.

A memorial service for Naomi Grangroth and Nikita and Narissa Williams will be held on Saturday, Nov. 17, at 11 a.m. The service will be at the New Covenant Fellowship Church, 38801 Calistoga Dr., Murrieta. A reception will follow.

Donations for the family can be made out to Brianna Ybarra and sent or delivered to the Douglas E. Barnhart Inc., main office, attention: Tami Barnhart-Reese, 10760 Thornmint Road, San Diego CA 92127, or brought to the memorial service.

If sending flowers, purple was Naomi’s favorite color and pink and black were the girls’ colors. Delivery of flowers should be arranged for the hours of 8 to 10 a.m. on Saturday, not before.

22 Responses to "Murder/suicide shocks Temecula residents"

  1. Mariah   October 9, 2009 at 4:46 am

    Funny i find this article all these years later. In my criminology class i have to research a mass murderer. I requested my two best friends murder. This resesarch is being proven harder and harder as i find more, however i knew for some reason i needed to do this. Kadee was right, they have made such an impact at youth and i remembered that. They made us all so happy, greatful, and appreciative for life. I was never able to get my clossure, so maybe go created this assignment for me to help get it. considedring there day is coming up. i love you girls and i know one day soon in your eyes we will be in the presence of god together enjoying all he has promised us. i love you.

    Reply
  2. Ash   November 3, 2009 at 11:07 am

    Nearly two years later, and I still think of you guys everyday. Your beautiful faces will never be forgotten. I love you guys with all of my heart. I can’t wait to be with you again in Heaven.

    Reply
  3. Sara   November 5, 2009 at 1:07 am

    They are my sister and nieces, with the anniversary of their deaths next week I thought I would just google them ( I do it every once in awhile). I appreciate everybody’s kind words…they were and still are a huge part of my life. I miss them with every breath…

    Reply
  4. Ash   November 5, 2009 at 10:53 am

    I miss them so much. :( I’m going to do it big for you this coming up Wednesday. Your guys’ life is going to be a huge celebration..I love you both with all of my heart. I still haven’t stopped thinking about you guys. I know you are in a better place with God. You two were such amazing women. Your beautiful faces, and smiles will never be forgotten. You two can NEVER be replaced. You were one of a kind. I miss you two.

    Reply
  5. Shaun C   November 11, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    To Sara.

    I read your comment and I am very sorry for the loss of your sister and Nieces, my heart goes out to you. My friends and I visit the house where they died to lay down flowers, light candles, and pay our respects. We do this because we are unaware of any grave or memorial. We are all wondering if they are burried anywhere, or if the ashes were spread so that we can pay our respects there. I saw your comment hoping that I can ask you that question. If you can please email me at [email protected]

    Reply
  6. Shaun Couts   November 11, 2009 at 9:23 pm

    2 years ago today you girls were taken from us. It saddens me to think of how young they were. They had so much in store for them. At the time they were killed I did not have many friends, especially female friends. But Nikita was such a good friend of mine. Badass, always positive, great sense of humor and beautiful. Nikita and I had a little game we played in english class. She would always sneak into my backpack when I wasn’t looking and write “IM GAY” on my essays and papers. Then when it came time to turn in the essays, the Teacher would be like “Shaun! why did you write “IM GAY” on the top of the paper???” In return I would try and get back at her with the same method by writing “IM GAY” all over her stuff. On the day of school after their death, not much of the public knew of the identity of the victims at the shooting. I opened my binder, and in big letters written in sharpie were “IM GAY!!! =)”. I laughed at it. I found her shenanigans written on my binder moments before the principal came on the intercom to announce the deaths of Nikita and Narissa. I was devastated. But still to this day, she won that little game we played.

    Another thing I want to share is a when we wrote a time capsule essay in the beginning of the year in English class. The assignment was to write about who your hero was, your goals in school, the college you plan to attend, and what your ideal career path would be. Then, at the end of the year everyone would read what they wrote and see if they achieved their goals. This essay was private to the writer only. A few weeks after she wrote this was when the massacre happened.

    So 9 months later when it was the end of the year, the teacher passed back the essays to everyone. Knowing that my friend Chris and I were friends with Nikita, she gave us her essay to read. We opened it, and this is what it read.

    “I love ME!! = ) When I grow up I want to be a bartender so I can serve cute guys! haha hell yeah!” she completely avoided the assignment and wrote this. She truly had the greatest sense of Humor I’ve ever seen

    Reply
  7. Sara   February 19, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Shaun, thank you very much. They are buried here in Spokane, WA at Riverside Cemetery. I was told at one point there was supposed to be a memorial at the school. Also the city of Temecula was supposed to be putting up a memorial to all victims of violent crimes somewhere in the city.

    Reply
  8. Sara   February 19, 2010 at 10:04 am

    Shaun, I finished reading your second post….I laughed out loud about the assignment. That is awesome, and so like Kita! Thank you for the laugh.

    Reply
  9. danielle   November 11, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    my moms bestfreinds cusions naomi and nakita and narissa died from a shotting from now and they died in 2007

    Reply
  10. miss your smiles   November 10, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Gone but not forgotten

    Reply
  11. Tina   November 30, 2012 at 4:57 am

    I would like to know if they ever found out what happened so the rest of the extended family and friends might have closure. This upsets me as a friend of the girls father here in washington st I see my friend torn apart from this it was his ex wife and daughters. It seems everyone has forgotten to mention that yes they lived in california but they were someones wife and babies before that and he still doesnt have closure.

    Reply
  12. 2013   May 16, 2013 at 1:44 pm

    so here it is 2013 and it is still being called a murder suicide i dont understand who drove away in a truck????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Reply
  13. Miss them   June 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I am not sure how soon you will see this. Matthews sister drove away in the truck. It is recorded in another news article and actually mentioned in this one, just doesn’t say she drove a truck. I hope it helps :(

    Reply
  14. Jamie   September 25, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I love you all and will forever be in my heart!!!

    Reply
  15. Gwend Montgomery   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Even though I didn’t know the family and live in Hemet, I was still touched by the tragedy. I have two granddaughters the same age and it really hit home to me. HOwever, it really disgusted me when I found out that a neighbor was taking pictures of the dead bodies. For what purpose?

    Reply
  16. AUNT CLAUDIA   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I WILL MISS YOU ALL VERY MUCH. THIS IS SUCH A HARD THING TO GO THROUGH FOR EVERYONE. I LOVE YOU ALL VERY MUCH

    Reply
  17. kadee   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    gosh i loved these girls soo much.
    they were the life and the happiness of our church. the youth ministry thinks about them constantly. and now everything we do is for them. because we changed their lives in 6 months but really they impacted all of us soo much more. they were always sooo happy. and its a shame that they are gone but we all know that they are skipping down the golden streets of heaven chillin with the big G man. nikita and narissa i love you! and things arent the same but you will never be forgotten. ily <3
    taquito and burrito you WONT be forgotten!!

    Reply
  18. livia   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    even though i had just moved from temecula, i still cant believe that something like this could happen.one my friends lives in Temeku hills & another lived down the street from the family.i give my condolences to the the family & friends that are suffering right now.

    Reply
  19. kathy   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    i am so so sorry.

    Reply
  20. ?????   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    i did not you but knew naomis sister who is very close to my family R.I.P we will all miss you guys so much

    Reply
  21. Christin   February 1, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I went to Chaparral with these girls and i remember when Narissa was new in our geography class and she was so quite and shy so i decided to talk to her and we was my geography buddy =] she was very sweet and i miss her very much . RIP Nikita & Narissa we miss you .

    Reply

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