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FAMILY TORN APART AS MOM AND KIDS BECOME VICTIMS.(News) go to website los robles hospital
Daily News (Los Angeles, CA) June 1, 2005 Byline: Josh Kleinbaum Staff Writer Jeffrey Nordella was driving his 15-year-old daughter Jamie to school Tuesday morning when he got the call that would turn his life upside down.
It was his wife, Carole, and she was screaming. There was an intruder in the house.
“I don’t think she got a chance to say anything, except that there’s someone in the house,” said Robin Brooks, Carole Nordella’s sister.
Jeffrey Nordella, an emergency-room doctor with a private practice in Santa Clarita, made a U-turn and floored it for home in his gated community in unincorporated Ventura County outside of Simi Valley. He wouldn’t make it in time to save his wife’s life but found himself confronting her assailant.
Inside the house, Toby Whelchel, a man with a long criminal past, extended a violent rampage that started the afternoon before in Thousand Oaks, where a shooting had already claimed two lives.
Overnight, Whelchel ditched his car in Wildwood Park and hiked a few miles through the park to the Nordellas’ neighborhood in search of another car.
At the Nordella home, he pistol-whipped the pool maintenance man and took the keys to his black pickup. Inside the house, he hit Carole Nordella with his pistol and then shot her in the back of the head, a wound that proved fatal within hours. Then he hunted down the Nordellas’ two youngest children, Kristen, 14, and Jeffrey Jr., 10, who had locked themselves in a bathroom.
The killer kicked in the bathroom door and hit both children with a pistol in the head, Brooks said. The two children were hospitalized at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Kristen in serious condition and Jeffrey Jr. in fair condition, said Kris Carraway, vice president of public affairs for Los Robles. go to web site los robles hospital
Nordella told family members that as he approached his house, he pulled over and opened the car door, telling Jamie to hide with neighbors. By the time he reached his house, he saw a suspicious-looking man climbing into the pool maintenance man’s vehicle.
Rather than run for cover, Nordella tried to block the man in the driveway with his car. Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Ramirez arrived at about the same time and joined the blockade.
The killer rammed into both cars. He fired several shots through his back window. One bullet struck Ramirez in the left shoulder, Carraway said.
The man escaped the blockade and Nordella followed him until he saw deputies had taken up the chase that ended with the killer committing suicide in the Simi Valley Wal-Mart. At that point Nordella returned home, where he found out what had happened to his family.
Dozens of family members and fellow church members flooded Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon, mourning Carole Nordella’s death. They remembered a strong woman, the youngest of four children, who discovered Christianity at age 7 and then taught it to the rest of her family.
“You can’t imagine the things that radiated from her,” said Joan Thomas, 78, Carole’s mother. “Carole was helping me learn what heaven is. I told her when I saw her in the emergency room that she wasn’t supposed to go to heaven before she told me more about it.” Family members took solace in Carole’s faith, saying that they would be reunited in heaven.
“We were talking about eternity yesterday,” Brooks said. “When you lose someone, it feels like a long time before you’re reunited with them. In eternity, though, it’s a drop in the bucket.” Josh Kleinbaum, (818) 713-3669 josh.kleinbaum(at)dailynews.com