A man who killed himself today in front of the Temecula Hotel used a handgun, an official said.
The body was discovered around 2:45 p.m. by passers-by at the historical building in the 42000 block of Main Street, across the street from .
To read an earlier report of the incident, .
A preliminary investigation showed the man shot himself in the right temple with a pistol, said sheriff's Lt. Robert Moquin.
The dead man, who wore his brown hair short and had on a green jacket, red T-shirt and gray jeans, sat slumped in a rocking chair on the hotel's porch today while rain battered the awning above.
A thick line of dark dried blood ran from his right temple, down his face and T-shirt, pooling on the pants.
Locals milled around the police tape wondering who the man was, and Moquin said it was too early in the investigation to determine his identity.
"Nobody seems to know who this individual is," he said.
The motive for the suicide was also unknown, but discovering the man's identity will be the first step toward figuring it out, the lieutenant said.
"After we identify him, we can backtrack, talk to friends and acquaintances," he said.
Two women visiting Old Town from their homes in Chino discovered the man as they strolled west on Main Street.
One of the women, Tana Wellott, thought it was a scary decoration. "As I got closer, I thought, 'That's a weird Halloween joke,'" she said.
Then they got closer and realized it was a real person. "You could tell he wasn't breathing," said Lisa Perez, the other woman who made the discovery. "Then I saw his hand was purple."
The two women walked back to the east and called the sheriff's department, Perez said.
The Temecula Hotel is privately owned, though the recently considered buying it, possibly to turn it into a museum.
The council decided to shelve the idea to avoid dealing with potential conflict of interest issues, because several council members have financial ties to a company connected to the real estate company representing the seller.
To read about the issues involved,
The suicide sent shock waves through the tight-knit community of shop keepers, workers and residents of Old Town.
"It's just scary," said Erika Compos, who works in Natural Juice Bar, a business near the scene of the suicide.
As of publication time, Main Street was closed to the bridge over Murrieta Creek.