A jealous teen-ager suspected of a shooting rampage that left his former girlfriend critically wounded and her mother and sister dead took his own life Wednesday night as detectives attempted to arrest him in Venice, police said.
Matthew Lee Walker was returning to a 1985 black Mercedes-Benz automobile he had taken from his victims' home in an affluent West Covina neighborhood when undercover officers tried to block the car with their vehicle, West Covina Police Lt. John Schimanski said.
The car had been spotted Wednesday afternoon at Venice Boulevard and Pacific Avenue and detectives kept it under surveillance as they waited for Walker to return, Schimanski said.
When detectives tried to block the car, Walker began to run, the lieutenant said. As authorities attempted to arrest him about 8:45 p.m., Walker shot himself, possibly in the head, Schimanski said. He was taken to Daniel Freeman Marina Medical Center where he was pronounced dead, investigators said.
Walker, 18, an unemployed construction worker whose last address was in the San Bernardino County community of Apple Valley, had numerous tattoos, including a face of the "Grim Reaper" on his left arm and, on his left leg, the phrase, "I hate the world."
The former West Covina High School student on Tuesday allegedly entered the three-bedroom home of Erwin and Evelina Teschner, who had lived on a quiet cul-de-sac in the 1200 block of Shasta Drive since 1974.
Walker's 17-year-old ex-girlfriend, West Covina High student Tracy Teschner, was shot in the head with a small-caliber handgun and remained hospitalized in critical condition Wednesday night, police said.
Her sister Tanya, 18, who was to be a finalist for queen of her Bishop Amat High School senior prom scheduled for tonight at the Disneyland Hotel, was found dead, shot in the head.
Also killed was the girls' 53-year-old mother, who was raised in the Philippines and worked as a nurse or medical technician in a nearby hospital, neighbors said.
Their bodies were discovered shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday by Erwin Teschner, a German-born businessman who owns a Pomona plastics factory with about a dozen employees. Teschner, who was reportedly with relatives on Wednesday, found his wife sprawled on the living room floor and his two daughters lying in their bedrooms.
"He was just hysterical," said William Hoffman, a neighbor who called police after Teschner came to his door for help. "He couldn't believe what had happened to his family."
According to court records, Walker and Tracy broke up last July, after dating for about four months. But Walker continued to harass her at home and at school, the records show.
Tracy had been reluctant to call police because Walker had threatened to harm her if she did, the documents say.
Then, on Jan. 28, Walker jumped from the bushes outside Tracy's home as she accompanied a male friend to his car. The records show he punched her in the neck and pushed her against a fence.
"I saw you kissing him," Tracy reported him as saying, according to a police report. "If you do that again I'll kill you."
On April 16, court records show, Walker pleaded no contest to battery and was sentenced to four days in county jail, placed on two years' probation, ordered to stay more than 100 yards away from Tracy and told to attend counseling sessions.
"He's a young man known to a lot of students . . . as violence-prone," said West Covina Police Cmdr. John Distelrath. "He loses his temper easily."
Tanya Teschner had made similar comments about Walker to her boss at Clothestime in a West Covina mini-mall, where she had worked part time after school as a sales clerk for the last 10 months.
"The way she explained it, it was like a fatal attraction-type thing," said store manager Lisa Rubi.
Rubi said Tanya told her that Walker sneaked into the Teschner home one night after the breakup, crawled into bed with Tracy and hugged her while ordering her not to say a word.
"Tanya was was really scared by him," Rubi said. "This is so unfair."
That was the sentiment of classmates at the two girls' schools, where classes were interrupted Wednesday for counseling sessions.
At Bishop Amat, a Catholic school in La Puente, students designated as "peer ministers" tried to console their classmates, and psychologists from Charter Oak Hospital in Covina were called in to help them deal with their grief.
"We need all the help we can get," said Jay Medina, the assistant principal. "The kids are really taking this hard."
Classmates of both Tanya and Tracy called the girls popular and high-spirited, although Tanya was described as quieter and more studious while Tracy was slightly more outgoing and free-spirited.
"Tanya was really spunky and hard-working," said Bishop Amat's senior class president, Emily Gonzales, 18. "A lot of us are in shock. She was a beautiful person."
"Tanya was like the happiest girl on Earth," said Father James Anguiano, principal of Bishop Amat. "Always smiling and laughing. Just full of life."
Tanya attended Bishop Amat for four years and was scheduled to graduate June 7. She was the senior class secretary and planned to study business next fall at Cal State Fullerton.
Tracy had attended Bishop Amat for her freshman and part of her sophomore year, but then transferred to West Covina High because she considered it less academically rigorous and wanted to be around the youngsters she grew up with, friends said. She enjoyed working with children there as part of the school's child development program.
"She was nice and sweet," said classmate Chad Wilson, 18. "She'd always bring a smile to you."
On the West Covina hillside where the girls grew up in a spacious stucco home equipped with a swimming pool and surrounded by lush foliage, there was disbelief.
"I'm very, very shocked," said Gene Dalhan, a resident of the area for 21 years. "Nothing like this has ever happened."
Times staff writer Denise Hamilton contributed to this story.