Ex-cop suspected of killings dies from self-inflicted gunshot wound: Police

ByLeah Sarnoff, Jolie Lash and Marilyn Heck ABCNews logo
Wednesday, April 24, 2024

A former police officer suspected in the killings of his ex-wife and girlfriend has died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, officials said Tuesday night. The child he was accused of abducting was "uninjured" and taken "safely" into custody, the police added.

Oregon State Police Captain Kyle Kennedy said the suspect -- Elias Huizar -- led Troopers on a chase after a failed traffic stop on the I-5 in Eugene around 2:40 p.m. PT.

There was a gunfire exchange between the suspect and officers, he said. No troopers were hurt in the incident, according to Kennedy.

The suspect continued on, crashed into a commercial vehicle and spun into the median. Huizar then shot himself, authorities said Tuesday night.

The abducted 1-year-old child, Roman Santos, who was previously identified by the authorities as Roman Huizar, was taken "uninjured" and "safely" into custody by OSP troopers, police said.

As police searched for the suspect throughout the day on Tuesday, he was charged with first-degree premeditated murder for allegedly shooting and killing his ex-wife, 31-year-old Amber Rodriguez, outside Wiley Elementary School on Monday afternoon, officials said.

Authorities allege Huizar shot and killed Rodriguez during school dismissal and was waiting behind a portable area where he knew she would be.

Hours later, authorities said they found another homicide victim, "a known associate of the suspect," while serving a search warrant at Huizar's residence. Authorities said in the amber alert for the then-missing child that Huizar was also suspected of killing his girlfriend.

The Amber Alert was issued Monday following the alleged abduction of the 1-year-old. It was canceled late Tuesday afternoon.

On Tuesday morning, police said there was a possible sighting of Huizar in Portland, Oregon, overnight, driving a black sedan. A clerk at a convenience store in the city called 911 just before 1 a.m. to report he believed Huizar had stopped to purchase a drink and had a child in the backseat of the car, Portland police told ABC News. Officers responded but did not locate Huizar, the child or the vehicle until Tuesday afternoon.

Huizar was previously employed by Richland School District as a substitute teacher from Nov. 2021 to June 2023, an official confirmed.

Huizar served as a police officer in Yakima, Washington, from June 2013 to February 2022, the department said. He resigned "immediately following discipline," a spokesperson for the department told ABC News. The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the circumstances of the discipline.

"The tragedies we are learning about in West Richland are heartbreaking. Words cannot express the deep sympathy we feel for all affected by these terrible acts of violence," Yakima Police Chief Matt Murray said in a statement. "We remain ready to assist in any way we are able."

ABC News' Jenna Watts, Kevin Shalvey and Mark Osborne contributed to this report.

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