Investigation unveils white supremacist ties in Sylmar house fire; suspected murder-suicide

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed and needs support now, call or text 988 or chat at

SYLMAR, Calif. — New details have emerged concerning the suspected murder-suicide in a Sylmar home engulfed in flames early Sunday. The incident involved 55-year-old Richard Yapelli Jr., who may have deep-rooted ties to white supremacist groups dating back to the 80s.

Reports indicate that Yapelli was part of a punk band in the 80s that transformed into a neo-Nazi street gang. The Sylmar home, owned by his 68-year-old aunt, Phyllis Ann Patterson, became the grim backdrop for the disturbing events.

Yapelli allegedly shot and killed his aunt and her dog before turning the gun on himself.

Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Guy Golan revealed that, upon entering the property, the fire department discovered the lifeless bodies of Patterson and her dog, both victims of gunshot wounds. Inside, authorities uncovered an arsenal of weapons and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Aftermath of Sylmar house fire. (FOX 11)

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Woman, nephew, dog found dead in rubble of ammunition-fueled fire at Sylmar home

Lt. Golan disclosed unsettling findings, including paintings depicting an unknown male in a Nazi SS uniform, pointing to Yapelli's disturbing past. In the 1980s, Yapelli was associated with a band that later transformed into a white supremacist gang known as "FFF." His car, containing items indicative of his ties to extremist ideologies, added further weight to the investigation.

Neighbors reportedly expressed concerns about Yapelli, with some claiming that Patterson had voiced fears about her nephew. Lt. Golan shared that neighbors had been warned by Patterson, stating, "If anything ever happens to me, it would be my nephew who did it."

The homeowner had been trying to evict her nephew for an extended period, shedding light on potential tensions within the family.

As authorities delve into Yapelli's dark history and potential motivations, the community grapples with the shocking events that transpired within the otherwise quiet neighborhood. The LAPD continues its efforts to understand the context surrounding this tragic incident in Sylmar.