Police Baffled on Reason for Brea Mall Murder-Suicide

Times Staff Writer

Authorities were still trying to determine Friday why a quarrel between former friends ended in death for both of them in the parking lot of a suburban mall Thursday afternoon.

Alexander Chau, 24, of Wilmington shot his former girlfriend Sandra Supnet, 20, of Rowland Heights in the parking lot of the Brea Mall as she was trying to leave in her car. Then he turned the gun on himself, police said.

The shooting occurred in front of horrified witnesses near the main entrance of the Broadway department store at about 2:15 p.m.

Brea Police Detective Grant Gulickson said Chau apparently became despondent when the couple broke up.


Woman Dead at Scene

Supnet died at the scene of multiple gunshot wounds. Chau was dead on arrival at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton from a gunshot wound to the head.

Witnesses told police that the two had been arguing heatedly in a language that no one could identify. Police say they were speaking in either Chinese or a Philippine dialect.

Both Supnet’s and Chau’s families are reportedly in the Philippines, and both apparently spoke Chinese fluently.


Supnet lived with her grandmother and uncle in a house in Rowland Heights. Lita Cua, who is married to Supnet’s uncle, said the family is still not sure just what happened or why.

“It was totally unexpected, unbelievable,” she said.

Cua described Supnet as a “typical young girl (who) liked to shop, to go out, very bright.”

Enrolled in College

She said Supnet had been studying nursing at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut. Supnet had been enrolled in the college from 1986 through the spring semester of this year, according to the college.

A spokeswoman in the nursing department at the college said, however, that Supnet had dropped out of the nursing program last January.

Police are still unsure how the couple came to be at the mall together or why they began arguing.

Witnesses said that Supnet got into her car, apparently trying to flee Chau, and that he ran to the front of it and fired several shots through the windshield.


Chau then opened the passenger door of the car, knelt and shot himself in the head.