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Agent Who Shot Woman Is Identified

INS officer Thomas Schnaible, 34, killed his girlfriend and himself in Lake Forest.

February 21, 2000|DAVID REYES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service agent who fatally shot his girlfriend and himself Saturday in Lake Forest was identified by authorities as Thomas Schnaible.

Schnaible, a 34-year-old special agent, killed Jennifer Elizabeth Lowe, 27, after she ran to a neighbor's door after a heated argument early Saturday morning, police said.

Lowe's mother, Sheila Lowe, said Sunday that a recent decision by her daughter, who was separated from her husband, to leave Schnaible and return to her husband might have provoked the attack.

Sheila Lowe said her daughter told her in a phone call last week she was becoming frightened because Schnaible was abusive and kept many weapons inside their rented condominium. "I don't think he could handle her decision," Sheila Lowe said. "I had talked to my daughter about getting out of the relationship. She needed to get out, to just leave him. [Schnaible] was abusive to her."

Though the relationship had its stormy side, Sheila Lowe said Schnaible was a "nice person" most of the time."

"He just couldn't get over her decision to go back to her husband," a Marine who lives in Carlsbad, she said.

Sheila Lowe said she told her daughter to report Schnaible's abuse to his INS supervisors before something happened to her. Relatives said they were fearful for her safety because of the weapons Schnaible had access to, including those kept in the home.

Neighbors at White Oak Condominiums on View Pointe Drive where the couple had recently moved said they had seen Schnaible carrying a shotgun through the complex.

Jennifer Lowe's family said they were certain she had reached immigration supervisors and voiced her concerns about Schnaible. Immigration officials could not be reached for comment Sunday.

"It's too late now," said Sheila Lowe, who returned to her Valencia home Sunday after making funeral arrangements in Santa Clarita.

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