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Ex-cop accused in 2 killings, kidnapping of baby fatally shoots self at end of chase, police say

Ex-cop accused in 2 killings, kidnapping of baby fatally shoots self at end of chase, police say
Ex-cop accused in 2 killings, kidnapping of baby fatally shoots self at end of chase, police say

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A former Washington state police officer accused of killing his ex-wife and his girlfriend, as well as kidnapping a baby, shot and killed himself at the end of a car chase with police in Oregon, authorities said Tuesday.

Oregon State Patrol troopers on the lookout for suspect Elias Huizar, 39, spotted him driving south on Interstate 5 near Eugene about 2:40 p.m., Oregon State Police Capt. Kyle Kennedy said at an evening news conference.

A pursuit ensued and at one point the suspect lost control of the vehicle he was driving and exchanged gunfire with pursuing troopers, Kennedy said. No injuries were reported, and the chase continued south, he said.

After approaching slow traffic, Huizar hit a stopped vehicle and spun into a median, the captain said. Huizar’s car then became immobile and, as troopers “contacted” the vehicle, the suspect shot himself in the head, Kennedy said.

The 1-year-old boy Huizar had allegedly kidnapped was safely taken by troopers, Kennedy said. Authorities did not detail how they believed the child was kidnapped.

No injuries were reported in the second and final crash about 25 miles from the start of the chase, the captain said.

“Today was a worst-case scenario for us — having a murder suspect in the same vehicle as an innocent juvenile,” Kennedy said. “That brings everything up another level for us. It’s a zero-sum game for us. We’re thankful for the way it turned out.”

Huizar was charged with first-degree murder in Monday’s slaying of Amber Rodriguez, 31, at Wiley Elementary School in West Richland as classes were being let out shortly before 3:30 p.m., Benton County Prosecutor Eric Eisinger said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

The charge of murder includes an aggravated circumstance allegation of domestic violence, as well as a firearm enhancement, Eisinger said.

Huizar was also being investigated in the death of a woman whose body was discovered later Monday when authorities searched his home. That victim has not been identified but was described in an Amber Alert from Washington State Patrol as Huizar’s girlfriend.

According to a court document filed against Huizar on Monday, witnesses at Wiley Elementary School said a gunman wearing black clothing and a black hat shot Rodriguez. Eight .40-caliber bullet casings were recovered at the scene. Rodriguez was identified after the killing in part through her school employee ID, the documents said.

The pair’s 9-year-old son witnessed the shooting, according to the court filing. The former husband and wife have two children together, according to court documents. 

Elias Huizar who is wanted in connection with a murder in West Richland, Wash., considered to be headed toward the Mexico border on April 23, 2024.
Elias Huizar. West Richland Police

At the time of the shooting at the school, Huizar was under conditional freedom after being accused of third-degree rape of a child and second-degree rape, Eisinger said. His total bail had been set at $250,000, the prosecutor noted.

According to a separate court filing about Huizar’s alleged rapes, two teens went to police in early February after a 17-year-old girl — whom prosecutors in the filing said identified herself as Huizar’s girlfriend — told officers she woke up to Huizar performing oral sex on her 16-year-old friend, who was “passed out” after all three had been drinking alcohol.

Huizar and the 17-year-old “have a child in common,” the filing said. Huizar met her when he was a resource officer at her middle school and got her pregnant when she was 15 years old, court records said.

The teen took the baby and drove off with her 16-year-old friend after February’s alleged incident, before flagging down police, the court filing said.

Washington State Patrol on Monday had issued an Amber Alert for the 1-year-old. The state patrol had said Huizar and the boy shared the same last name, but the relationship between them was not immediately clear Tuesday afternoon. It was also not immediately clear whether the child was the same one Huizar had with the 17-year-old.

The alert was extended from Washington to Oregon as well as other places in the west, Eisinger said. The alert also said the women killed were Huizar’s ex-wife and his girlfriend.

Kennedy said Oregon State Police received a request to issue the alert about 10:30 p.m. Monday and put it into effect about an hour later.

The West Richland Police Department said earlier that Huizar was “armed and considered dangerous, and is likely to commit more crimes.” Portland police told West Richland authorities that Huizar was seen in the Oregon city overnight, possibly driving a black sedan. 

The Yakima Police Department in Washington said Huizar was an officer there from 2013 to 2022.

“He did serve as a school resource officer for a period of time, at a couple schools during his employment. Mr. Huizar resigned in February of 2022, immediately following discipline,” a department spokesperson said. 

Shelley Redinger, superintendent of the Richland School District, said Huizar passed background checks and answered no to questions that included whether he had ever resigned from an employer with allegations of misconduct pending or if he’d ever been the subject of a workplace investigation accusing him of misconduct.

Redinger said Huizar’s last day as a district employee was in June 2023.

“We are extremely disheartened. That information about his past was not disclosed to us,” she said. “It is expectation for individuals who apply for employment with the Richland school district to be forthcoming and truthful in their applications.”

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