Artist Arlyn Pillay, 35, and his mother, Lulu (Gloria), 58, also an artist, were shot dead at their home in Irvine, allegedly by her older son, Arlyn’s brother, Nolan, 37.
ABC7 News Network in California said Pillay appeared in court on Thursday for two felony counts of murder with sentencing enhancements for multiple murders and using a firearm – charges that could carry the death penalty.
The TV station said authorities had declined to release further details or information on a possible motive for the murders.
Lulu owned the Lady Lulu gallery in Palm Springs and Arlyn the Arlyn Pillay Art Gallery in Tustin.
Before they moved to the US 15 years ago, the family lived in Reservoir Hills. Lulu was a school teacher who then studied for a fine arts degree.
The family had owned the Bayview Pharmacy in Chatsworth.
Lulu is the aunt of Durban businesswoman Rosanne Narandas.
Yesterday, Narandas said Arlyn showed talent at a young age and the family had emigrated so he could attend a prestigious art school.
“He obtained a scholarship to attend the Art Centre College of Design in Pasadena. He opened his gallery two years ago and enthralled the art world with his unbelievable art. He had also made movies and music videos.
“He was a true artist who was loved by many in America,” Narandas said.
She said her aunt had arrived home from an art exhibition on Tuesday and Arlyn had picked her up from the airport.
“As soon as they arrived home, this happened. Nobody seems to know the motive. I have always known Nolan to be a quiet and respectful child, so this really comes as a shock. Nolan has two degrees and worked at the telecommunications department in California for a while. He recently joined his mother and worked with her at her art gallery,” said Narandas.
She said she had shared a close bond with her aunt.
“We are the same age, so we did everything together. We went to school together, got married together and had our kids together. She was a truly amazing person and we are all saddened by the tragic incident. No one in the family here really knows what went on and we are still waiting to hear from Gloria’s (Lulu’s) husband, Anand.”
An online crowd funding campaign was started by the international art community to raise money for the funerals and to keep the Aryln Pillay Art Gallery open.
The campaign’s website said: “On Tuesday, our beloved friends were taken from us in a tragic state of events. Arlyn and Lulu Pillay were the lights that lit up our path in the art world.
“Two people who expressed love and peace through their artwork. They taught us to take the pain of our past and put in a piece of art to create a new future.”