The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

July 3, 2014

UPDATE: Names of murder-suicide victims released by APD

Neighbors, coworkers, customers recall 'Miss May' and son

An apparent murder-suicide reported Wednesday afternoon in a quiet, tree-lined neighborhood in Athens has left residents reeling and pondering the reason for a shooting that left two of their neighbors dead.

Robin Shen Hu, 39, of 305 Longview St., apparently shot and killed his 73-year-old mother, May Chao Mei Hu, with a 9 mm handgun at and then shot himself at the residence they shared, Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson said.

Both victims died from a gunshot wound to the head and were found in a bedroom, Limestone County Coroner Mike West said. The mother and son were taken to the state forensic lab in Huntsville for autopsies, which Johnson said would reveal time of death.

Johnson, who described May as “a very sweet and kind person,” said the bodies were identified at the scene, but the names were held until this morning so police could notify next of kin in California.

He said a UPS delivery man called police after finding what appeared to be a suicide note taped to a door at the residence sometime after 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Johnson declined to reveal if the note indicated a motive for the shooting, saying the incident remains under investigation.

Phillip Stewart, who lives at 303 Longview St., said the UPS driver who discovered the note stopped by his business, Athens Tanning Salon, to share what happened. The worker and Stewart were former colleagues at Steelcase.

“He said when he got to the door and opened the door — I guess the storm door — there was a peculiar odor and a note,” Stewart said. “He said he went back to the truck and called police. He said he knew by the officer’s reaction (once the officer exited the home) that they were dead.”

Stewart said he had lived next door to the family for many years but he rarely saw Robin leave the home. He sometimes saw him standing on the porch while his mother worked in the yard.

“It had been three months since I had seen him on the porch,” he said.

As with other neighbors who knew the family, Stewart does not understand the motive behind what appears to be a murder-suicide.

“She was sweet. It had to be a last resort for him,” he said.

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