Mental Patient Held in Universal Slayings Wanted to See Michael Landon
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ A mental patient being held in the slayings of five people in two states demanded to see ″Highway to Heaven″ star Michael Landon just before he shot two Universal City guards to death, officials say.
″Prior to the shooting, the suspect went on the Universal Studios tour,″ said Sgt. Ernie Roop of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. ″He asked several studio employees if he could talk to Michael Landon, but was denied access.″
Nathan Nick Trupp, asked studio guards Thursday if he could use the telephone in their shack to contact Landon, Roop said. Trupp left when a guard told him to use a pay phone, but returned and began shooting, the sergeant said.
Trupp, 42, was wounded moments later in a gunbattle with deputies near the Universal City entertainment complex.
A spokesman for Landon said the actor was aware of Trupp’s attempt to see him.
The actor had no comment, Harry Flynn said Friday. ″It’s very unsettling for everybody,″ Flynn said.
Thursday was the last day of filming for ″Highway to Heaven,″ which has run for five seasons on NBC-TV. Landon plays an angel on the show.
Trupp is being held in the slayings of the two guards and is wanted in the slayings Tuesday of three people at a bagel shop in Albuquerque, N.M.
The number of fatalities attributed to Trupp rose to five Friday with the death of Armando Torres, 18, one of the two guards shot, said Lori Hull, a spokeswoman for Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank.
The guard killed Thursday night was Jeren Beeks, 27.
Trupp was listed in serious but stable condition at St. Joseph, where he underwent surgery for chest and arm wounds.
Albuquerque police Sgt. Ruth Lowe said authorities would try to extradite Trupp to New Mexico.
Trupp’s brother, Philip, a Washington, D.C., author, told the Albuquerque Journal his brother had a lifelong history of mental problems.
Trupp was involuntarily committed to Trenton Psychiatric Hospital, New Jersey’s main state psychiatric institution, on Nov. 25, 1987. But a court ruled he posed no threat and ordered him released to a supervised boarding house in February 1988, said Mary Kay Risi, a spokeswoman for the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
Trupp left the Trenton area boarding house April 5, a day after arriving, she said.
Police have said they had no motive in the bagel shop slayings of Richard Wilt, 39, his wife, Jeanne Wilt, 37, both of Albuquerque, and the woman’s father, Joseph Famiglietta Sr., 63, of suburan Rio Rancho.
About 200 relatives and friends of the three people gathered at St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Rio Rancho for a memorial Mass on Thursday.
″Three innocent people have been killed for no reason whatsoever,″ the Rev. Edward Rutowksi told mourners.