Fugitive ex-police officer found with gunshot wound while infant with him is safe

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A former police officer from Washington state, wanted for the killings of his ex-wife and teenage girlfriend, has been found in Oregon with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police have said.

Elias Huizar, 39, abducted his baby son and went on the run after allegedly gunning down his ex-wife outside an elementary school on Monday. The one-year-old boy was taken safely into custody by Oregon Patrol Troopers.

Troopers began chasing Huizar when they saw him driving southbound on Interstate 5 near Eugene, Oregon, at about 3pm on Tuesday. The disgraced officer sustained a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, though his condition was unknown, the West Richland Police Department said in a Facebook post.

It was believed that Huizar had been on the run towards Mexico before his capture. A press conference to provide further information will take place on Wednesday at 10am local time, police said.

Officials confirmed at a press conference earlier on Tuesday that Amber Rodriguez, 31, was killed at Wiley Elementary School in West Richland, Washington on Monday as children were let out for the day. Rodriguez – the mother of Huizar’s two sons – had reportedly just obtained a protection order against him.

A warrant for the arrest of Elias Huizar (right), who went on the run with his infant son on Monday, after allegedly shooting his ex-wife and teenage girlfriend (Washington State Patrol)

“He was behind a portable area and knew that she would be out there, apparently, and then shot her there,” Richland School District superintendent Dr Shelley Redinger said. “It was definitely targeted.”

Police later found a second victim, the suspect’s girlfriend, dead at his nearby home. Though they identified her has his partner, the Washington State Patrol refused to provide further information or confirm if it was the teenage girl who had been reported to be living with him.

Eric Eisinger, the Benton County Prosecuting Attorney, issued a nationwide arrest warrant for Mr Huizar for first-degree, premeditated murder. Washington State Patrol had said Huizar was suspected of murdering his “ex-wife and girlfriend” in the Amber Alert but did not name them.

According to a probable cause statement filed in Benton County Superior Court on Monday, Rodriguez was shot eight times near the school bus parking lot.

The former couple’s 9-year-old son told officers that “he observed his father, Elias Huizar, shoot his mother,” the documents said. Rodriguez worked at the school, while Huizar had recently worked as a substitute teacher in the Richland School District, the district confirmed in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

“There are no words to express how deeply saddened we are by the targeted, domestic violence incidents that took place yesterday at William Wiley Elementary and in the surrounding neighborhood that resulted in the death of one of our staff members and another individual. This is a tragedy no community should have to experience,” the statement read.

The school district said it had received recommendations from the Yakima School District before hiring Huizar in 2022, and that he had passed background checks.

“We are extremely disheartened that information about MrHuizar’s past was not disclosed to us through the various processes we have in place to vet RSD candidates for employment,” the district said. “It is the expectation for individuals who apply for employment with RSD to be forthcoming and truthful in their applications.”

Prior to the alleged shootings and alleged kidnapping Mr Huizar had been scheduled to appear in court on Monday to face child rape allegations in relation to a teenage girl who was sleeping at his home, KNDU reported. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges in February after being arrested.

The former police officer was reportedly caught with the teenage girl by his 17-year-old girlfriend, who reported him to police, KNDU said.

Mr Huizar was an officer with the Yakima Police Department, around 70 miles from West Richland, between June 2013 and 2021. The Yakima Police Department said in a Facebook post Tuesday that Huizar left the department “after receiving discipline.” It did not provide any other information.

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