Police say Celaya opened fire in a travel trailer on the reservation of about 800 people on Saturday night, killing his mother and two uncles. He left behind his seriously wounded 6-year-old son Andrew. He took with him Alyssa, whose name is tattooed on his right leg, and his other daughter, 5-year-old Linea.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Chris Douglass said it was unclear when Celaya shot his daughters.
Tribal members said the former custodian at the reservation’s Eagle Mountain casino had a troubled past.
Hunter said Celaya’s mother was a friend of hers. The Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating the case, identified her 60-year-old Irene Celaya.
‘‘She was always a positive person,’’ Hunter said. ‘‘Every time I saw here she gave me a big hug. She was a positive person no matter what situation she was in.’’
Authorities said the bodies of Irene Celaya and her 61-year-old brother, Francisco Moreno, were found in the trailer. The body of their 53-year-old brother, Bernard Franco, was in a shed that was a makeshift bedroom.
Hunter said Irene took care of her brothers and extended family.
The remote reservation with no industry or businesses outside of the Smoke Shack that sells sundries and cigarettes relies on Eagle Mountain Casino for revenues. Each tribal member receives $500 a month, but Hunter said most of the profit is invested into educational programs for the children.
Deputies found Celaya by tracking his cellphone. A chase ensued, though Celaya never exceeded the speed limit, and he eventually pulled over in the heart of citrus country outside the tiny community of Lindsay. Celaya opened fire, prompting deputies to shoot back, Douglass said.
The church bells of Mater Dolorosa Catholic Church toll slowly when a tribal member dies, and the mournful sound echoes through the canyon where the reservation sits. It’s how the word is spread. They rang out five different times on Sunday.
It means five graves need to be prepared, which tribal members started with an assist from the reservation fire fighters.
‘‘You don’t anticipate those types of things occurring here,’’ Blain said. ‘‘You hear about them occurring in other places. ... It’s unfortunate it happened here, because there were children involved who had no control or say over their destiny.’’
Reach Tracie Cone at http://www.twitter.com/TConeAP .