Shooting of Long Beach Detective Is Ruled Suicide

The death of a Long Beach police detective found with a single gunshot wound in her Rancho Santa Margarita home early Friday was ruled a suicide by the Orange County coroner’s office Saturday.

Suphada “Sue” Nelson, 32, died of a lacerated heart and aorta caused by the gunshot, coroner’s official Bruce Lyle said. Although further details were not disclosed, the autopsy results indicated that her death was a suicide “based on a preponderance of evidence,” Lyle said.

Nelson’s husband, Kevin, also a detective in the department, returned to the couple’s home about 10:30 a.m. Friday after his wife’s supervisor alerted him that she had not reported for roll call, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department reported Friday.

Suicide was suspected from the beginning of the investigation because of circumstances, including the location and position of the gun, a sheriff’s investigator said.


Sue Nelson was an auto theft investigator who had joined the department in 1990. She first worked as a patrol officer, then moved up to detective assignments. Her husband works on the gang detail.

The couple have a 6-year-old daughter who was not home at the time of the shooting, police said.

Details on funeral arrangements have not been released.