A long-standing feud between three neighbors turned deadly at a California mobile home park. Claude “Bodie” Adams, 64, murdered Kurt Bracke, 70, and Richard Hanen, 78, on June 21, at the Casa Grande Senior Mobile Estates Park in Santa Maria. Adams then killed his wife, Sherry, 65, son Seth, 33, and himself.
The mobile home park is a 55+ age-restricted community, located approximately 150 miles northwest of Los Angeles, in Santa Barbara County. “Beautiful grounds, well maintained, lots of free activities, NICE clubhouse, pool, club kitchen and barbeque areas, nice golf course. Love, love, love!” one resident wrote on Facebook.
“My husband and I have been living here for about 5 years. We love it. Everyone we met is friendly. We’re blessed with terrific neighbors,” is how another neighbor described the community.
Neighbors who knew the shooter told KSBY he was not friendly and kept to himself. “He was always angry. He had issues and he really didn’t know how to handle them,” Kalani Young said.
Here’s what you need to know about Claude Adams and the deaths at the Casa Grande Mobile Estates Park.
1. Claude Adams Was Getting Evicted from His Home
The deadly series of events unfolded just before noon. Adams, Bracke, and Hanen had what Santa Maria police are describing as “a dispute.” The exact cause of the disagreement has not been made public but it’s believed the fight was related to Adams’ impending eviction from the community.
Bracke and Hanen were close friends and organizers of the community’s Friday Golf Group. Adams confronted the two men at the mobile home park’s pitch and putt golf course, then went back to his house, got a gun, and returned to kill the two men. As police reached the clubhouse, Adams was spotted fleeing to his home at 519 W. Taylor Street, lot 407.
2. Police Thought There Was an Active Shooter
Police responded to a “shots fired” call at 11:37 a.m. and were at the Casa Grande clubhouse within two minutes. When officers arrived at the scene they discovered the bodies of Bracke and Hanen. Police heard from witnesses that a potential suspect was in the neighborhood and headed toward lot 407. They initially thought there was an active shooter and asked residents to remain inside their homes.
“Within moments, as we were starting to move in that direction, there were reports of an explosion and fire at 407,” Santa Maria Police Chief Phil Hansen revealed. He added that the fire engulfed the home on lot 407 almost immediately. Casa Grande resident Jeanne Pate told KSBY that after the explosion, she suddenly saw big black billows of smoke, along with police cars “coming from every direction possible,” and police running across her front lawn.
3. A Fire Set Inside the Adams Home Caused Ammunition to Discharge
As police headed toward the Adams residence, live ammunition inside the home began discharging from the heat of the blaze. “All throughout the firefighting challenge ammunition was cooking off,” Hansen explained. “That created a safety hazard for residents, for responding officers, for firefighters, and whatnot. You had rounds just cooking off on a pretty regular basis from that location.”
“I can’t believe something like this can happen here in this peaceful neighborhood,” Peter Salinas shared with KSBY. I noticed this big fire out here and a bunch of bullets that were popping off inside the house,”he said.
Santa Maria Sergeant Russ Mengel said the ammunition continued to shoot off for a couple of hours, making it too dangerous for firefighters respond. The delay resulted in three homes destroyed by the fire and several others severely damaged. “It was sending shrapnel and debris all of the street where we’re standing,” he told KSBY, showing the camera bullets and metal fragments blasted from the house.
4. Authorities Haven’t Been Able to Identify the Adams’ Remains
The bodies of Claude, Sherry and Seth Adams were so badly burned they have not been positively identified. Responders initially located two bodies in the Adams home but later found a third in the rubble. The police have not revealed if the Adams’ died in the fire or if they were killed prior to the explosion.
DNA testing by the coroner is still pending. The Santa Maria Police Department has asked members of the Adams’ family to contact their office to help identify the bodies.
5. Residents Are Collecting Donations for Neighbors Who Lost Their Homes
According to Casa Grande resident K.C. Chavers, the community’s homeowner’s association has taken up a collection of cash and gift cards for neighbors whose homes were lost or damaged by the fire. “One of the houses that were completely destroyed lost everything. They likely got out with the clothes on their back,” Chavers said.
Linda Culp had just purchased the house adjacent to the Adams’ residence. The Herald-News reported she was getting ready to move from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Santa Maria.
“It’s a good thing I wasn’t down there. I could have been killed. I guess it was a blessing in disguise,” she said.
“I’m just appalled at what happened,” Chavers shared, adding that Casa Grande is a quiet community were “most people are polite to one another.”