Local News

Authorities Continue Investigation Into Deadly, 2-State Chase

Posted September 25, 2002 11:01 a.m. EDT

— Police are still trying to piece together the events that led to Monday's deadly 2-1/2-hour chase.

Police say Roberto Campos kidnapped his ex-girlfriend Lourdes Guzman and forced her at gunpoint to drive on Interstate 40 and later onto I-85 into Virginia, where state police decided to end their chase of Campos. Police say Campos later shot Guzman and turned the gun on himself.

Investigators say they are looking into Campos' background and where he got the gun he used to shoot Guzman.

"We're working on the aspect of where did this weapon come from? Where did this firearm originate from?" said Capt. D.S. Overman, of the Raleigh Police Department.

Police say Campos arrived in Raleigh Sunday from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., where he lived with family. Police say he came on a mission.

"It's my understanding that he came here to look for some cousins and to re-establish contact with her," Overman said.

"We're trying to verify where he was staying, any criminal history he might have had and any restraining order that might have been filed against him. All of those things are being looked at today," Overman said.

According to police records in 1999, Campos allegedly assaulted Guzman's husband with a knife. No charges were filed because police did not have enough evidence to charge him.

Despite the tragic results, officials with the state Highway Patrol say they have no regrets as to how they handled the situation.

Col. Richard Holden, of the state Highway Patrol, said forcing the issue with a gun to the hostage's head could have been the wrong thing to do. Holden also said he has no criticism as to how authorities in Virginia ended the nearly three hour-chase by throwing out stop sticks.

Holden did, however, criticize his own department's ability to communicate with Virginia law enforcement. Officials say there was trouble communicating car to car from North Carolina authorities to Virginia authorities.

"We were able to communicate with them but not as directly as we would like to, so there was some time difference in being able to connect with them," he said.

Each law enforcement agency has rules applying to chases -- whether high speed or low speed. At times, Monday's chase was both.

A helicopter pilot for the state Highway Patrol, who was flying above the vehicle at around 700 feet said he narrowly avoided being hit when Campos fired a gunshot at him.

"I saw him stick his arm out and he had already fired several shots at passers-by and other patrol cars. When his arm came out and around, I could actually see his gun and I saw an orange flame and I heard something. They said it sounded like a supersonic, little boom going by you and I heard that, and at that time, I booked left and hid behind some trees for a few seconds to get my thoughts back together," pilot J.B. Garner said.

Raleigh police say they were on the phone to both Guzman and Campos as they headed into Virginia. When deciding how to carry on a chase, officers take into consideration the severity of the offense and the danger to other drivers.

As the chase continued, a police psychologist attempted to create an on-the-fly profile of Campos, along with how to defuse the situation.

North Carolina has an agreement with Virginia to continue a chase across the state line and Raleigh police and state troopers did that on Monday, even though the Virginia State Police took the final action that stopped the truck.