Local News

Gunman Leads Authorities On Two-State Chase; Ends In Murder-Suicide

Posted September 25, 2002

— Authorities said a man killed his ex-girlfriend and then shot himself after leading authorities in two states on a high-speed chase from Raleigh to Virginia Monday evening.

Police said Roberto Campos, 25, of Florida, shot Lourdes Guzman, 26, of Raleigh, then himself after Virginia State Police forced the pickup truck they were in to a stop in rural Brunswick County, Va. more than 2.5 hours after the chase began.

Raleigh police said the incident began around 5 p.m. near Pleasant Valley Promenade on Glenwood Avenue. They had received a domestic call from Guzman.

Police said Campos, the father of two of Guzman's children, appeared at the woman's home Monday afternoon and forced her and the two children, ages 4 and 7, into Guzman's white pickup truck.

When police officers spotted the truck, Guzman used a cellphone to call 911 and told dispatchers that Campos would release the children if officers would back off. Police complied and the children were let out along Capital Boulevard.

As the four drove through Raleigh, witnesses called police to report a man in a white pickup truck was holding a gun to a woman's head.

"The truck stopped on the side of the road. Police were holding back traffic and had a road block set up. It looked like it was over at that point. That's when he let the children out," witness Thomas Olsen said.

The children, a boy and girl, were taken to WakeMed and were placed in the custody of their grandparents.

Compos then forced Guzman at gunpoint to drive around the Triangle in the pickup truck. The high-speed chase led Raleigh police and the state Highway Patrol around the Beltline, and later, west onto Interstate 40 into Orange County before heading north on Interstate 85 into Durham County.

A Highway Patrol helicopter hovered above the chase.

Troopers on the ground shut down exits leading to Interstate 40 and Interstate 85 during the rush-hour chase, which authorities said reached speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.

Police said Campos fired shots from the truck several times during the chase -- twice at Raleigh police and again at motorists.

At one point during the chase, the view from WRAL's Sky 5 showed what appeared to be Campos crounched down in the passenger seat, pointing a gun at Guzman's head as she drove. At another point, they appeared to be switching clothing.

A convoy of police kept their distance as negotiators tried to talk Campos into giving up.

During the chase, Dr. Michael Teague, a forensic psychologist with the Raleigh Police Department, was able to speak with Campos and Guzman.

"The negotiators were trying to convey to her to keep calm and just to let him know he wouldn't be harmed if he would just stop the vehicle," said Capt. D.S. Overman of the Raleigh Police Department.

Guzman told Teague that Campos was heavily armed, but through it all police said she managed to remain calm.

"We were very concerned for the victim and felt like it would be in her best interest if we stay there and keep him distracted and keep him talking," Overman said.

Near Henderson, Campos shot at a Highway Patrol helicopter and hit a police cruiser blocking an interstate onramp.

The vehicle continued north on I-85 crossing the state line into Virginia. Virginia authorities were waiting, and said after shots were fired from the pickup truck, stop sticks were used. Officials said they also wanted to prevent the chase from continuing into heavily populated Peterburg, Va.

The pickup truck coasted to a halt about 30 miles north of the North Carolina border, near South Hill, Va.

"Once he got into Virginia and we confirmed he fired shots in Virginia at civilians, we made the deicion to stop him on this isolated stretch of I-85. After he hit the tire deflation devices, the vehicle went off the shoulder of the road and after he did our people heard three shots. It appears that we have a murder suicide," said Col. Gerald Massengill, of the Virginia State Police.

Virginia State Police said Compos shot Guzman and then shot himself.

Guzman's current husband arrived at the scene around 9 p.m. He had watched the situation on TV in Raleigh and then got in his own pickup and started driving north. He was inconsolable as police tried asking him questions in hopes of learning more about this case.

Overman said there had been a history of domestic violence between the former couple, who had emigrated from El Salvador.

Guzman leave behind four children.

and

Len Besthoff

and

Michelle Singer

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