[Updated Jan. 23] The man who shot his wife and killed himself over the weekend in Folsom was an active supporter of Murieta activities for a decade as a partner in Mama Lou's Cocina Mexicana restaurant in Murieta Plaza. The family has announced funeral arrangements.
Police say Robert Perez, 37, shot his wife in the head at about 2 a.m. Sunday during an argument and then shot himself fatally. He was pronounced dead soon after, while his wife, Maria Perez, is recovering from the wound. Their three children -- 14, 10 and 6 years old -- were present in the home.
Coverage of the shootings told of a Robert Perez not known to Murietans. Folsom police said they had responded to previous complaints about arguments and domestic violence at the home.
There will be a viewing and Rosary at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. Rose Catholic Church, 6156 Vine Ave., Roseville, and a funeral Mass 10 a.m. Monday.
Murietan Peggie Miller, whose family sold the restaurant, then called Elisa's, to the Perez family in 1997, remembers a man who was a constant community supporter even though he didn't live here.
Robert Perez, right, was grand marshal of 2000's July 4 parade. He's seen here with Frank Hashorva. (Photo: Perez family)
"They contributed so much to our community through their ownership in the restaurant for several years," Miller wrote in an e-mail. "They were always there when asked for donations and it pleased them to be such a major part of this community, even though they did not actually live here. Their first answer was always a 'Yes, we can help' attitude."
Perez established a tradition of supplying food for the party held on the final day of the Rancho Murieta Association Summer Recreation program. Over the years, he supported ETC, Summerfest, Casino Corral and Community Club events through the restaurant. In 2000, he was chosen grand marshal for the Fourth of July parade in recognition of his community participation.
"When I was working with him in the Community Club, he could not have been more generous," said Jacque Villa, a longtime community volunteer.
"He never, ever said no to anything the community groups asked," said Erin Reed, who has been a community volunteer for years. "He'd say, ‘Absolutely, I'm here to support you. Rancho Murieta's been good to me.'"
She added, "I don't think people realized he didn't live in the community."
Reed recalled that the family's children often did their homework at the restaurant. Another Murietan remembered seeing Perez in the bank, doting on his children and carrying the smallest child lovingly.
Robert Perez, left, served as a chili cook-off judge at Summerfest. (Photo: John T. Weatherford)
"After leaving the restaurant he tried hard to get his life together," Miller wrote in her note. "He called me a couple of years ago saying he had gotten his real estate license and was going to do mortgage lending, but that he may want to get into real estate and if he did, could I help. I told him to let me know when he was ready and I would do what I could. That never materialized.
"Something went sideways somewhere along the line with Robert. Everyone experiences their personal ups and downs in their life, but for some reason it appears that Robert's downs took over the Robert that we all knew and cared about."
Perez wrote this e-mail to RanchoMurieta.com in March 2006, when Mama Lou's closed:
We would like to say thanks to all our patrons and friends. You have made the last 10 years very memorable. Murieta was our second home. It was a community we will never forget. There are just too many hugs, handshakes and smiles of children we have seen grow into adults.
Murieta, you will be missed! We have never seen such a community full of friendships and unity. We were blessed to have had such success and support over the last decade.
Thank you from the deepest of our "CORAZON." Someday soon come visit us in our new project in Folsom (hint).