The gunman reportedly faxed a suicide letter to a Los Angeles television station that said both he and his wife had been fired from their jobs at a hospital and that an unnamed supervisor had told him "you should have blown your brains out," the Los Angeles Times reported.
"This was a financial- and job-related issue that led to the slayings," said LAPD Deputy Chief Kenneth Garner. "In these tough economic times, there are other options. In my 32 years, I've never seen anything like this."
KABC-TV in Los Angeles said it received the two-page fax and contacted authorities. The gunman then apparently reported the shootings to 911.
The couple was found dead inside their home in working-class Wilmington along with five children, including two sets of twins, all under the age of 10. The names of the victims were not immediately released.
The Long Beach Press-Telegram said an attorney told them he had received a phone message from the father earlier in the day about a lawsuit. The suit stemmed from a traffic accident and the family was expected to receive a modest settlement at a hearing Wednesday.
"I'm stunned." Attorney Paul Pierce told the newspaper.