Los Angeles Police responded to reports of a shooting at an apartment complex in the 12400 block of Weddington Street around 10:30 a.m.
Investigators say the man fatally shot his wife and then wounded a woman who ran to his wife's aid. The second victim was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.
The suspect was found suffering from a self-inflicted wound. He was later pronounced dead.
"I can remember hearing a lot of screaming and I heard a lot of gunshots go off. At the very end, I could hear him yelling one last yell of a derogatory word and he shot himself," said witness Robin Torell.
The husband of the wounded woman identifies her as 45-year-old Flora Andrews. Police evacuated the mother of three to an ambulance, uncertain at the time whether the gunman would shoot again.
A command post was immediately set up at the Rite Aid parking lot near Magnolia Boulevard and Whitsett Avenue. Nearby schools were also briefly placed on lockdown. Police checked to make sure no one in surrounding apartments was hurt after bullet holes were found near the scene.
A witness described the chaos over the phone to her mother, Anita Maxwell.
"He pulled a gun out and then he tried to shoot my daughter and he shot the neighbor and my daughter ran for her life downstairs to her apartment. She was screaming, and then my daughter called me. I couldn't understand her," said Maxwell.
Maxwell says she knew the gunman. She said he complained to her about back pain and his meds and how he worried that his much younger wife would leave him. Neighbors say the couple was always fighting.
"I even told the husband some time back, years ago, I said, 'You guys are like two hot kegs ready to go off and you should really seek some help,'" said Torell.
The couple leaves behind a teenaged daughter who was at school when the shooting erupted.
Police said earlier reports of someone being hit with an ax were unfounded.
CNS contributed to this report.