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Troopers: Man wanted in I-81 quadruple shooting at rest stop killed himself

Troopers: 'Law enforcement witnessed shots being fired inside the Malibu'
12-26-21 I81 Frederick Co Rest Area Shooting.jpg
Posted at 6:18 PM, Dec 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-26 18:31:10-05

FREDERICK COUNTY, Va. -- The man wanted in a quadruple shooting at a rest stop on Interstate 81 Sunday morning apparently killed himself following a brief chase with law enforcement, according to authorities.

Officials with Virginia State Police said a man and woman were "engaged in a domestic dispute" at the Frederick County Rest Area along I-81 south just before 9:30 a.m.

"When the dispute turned physical, several individuals who happened to be at the Rest Area tried to intervene for the woman's safety," Virginia State Police Public Relations Director Corinne Geller said.

Officials said 34-year-old Cesar Juarez Avila then started firing at the woman and the people who intervened.

The woman as well as two men were taken to Winchester Medical Center. They suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to Geller.

A third man, who was med-flighted to Fairfax Inova Hospital, suffered serious, but non-life threatening, injuries, officials said.

12-26-21 I81 Frederick Co Rest Area Shooting Suspect.jpg
Rest stop shooting Dec. 26, 2021.

Troopers said Avila sped from the rest area in a Chevrolet Malibu.

"State police, with the assistance of the Frederick County Sheriff's Office, secured the Rest Area and began actively following up on leads concerning Avila's whereabouts," Geller said.

Then just after noon, a deputy spotted the Malibu traveling on Airport Road in Frederick County, Geller said.

When the deputy and troopers pulled in behind the sedan, it sped away and a "short pursuit ensued" before "law enforcement positioned their vehicles around the suspect vehicle and forced it to a stop," according to officials.

"When the Malibu came to a stop, law enforcement witnessed shots being fired inside the Malibu," Geller said. "When troopers approached the vehicle, they located Avila in the driver's seat suffering from a gunshot wound."

He was taken to Winchester Medical Center where he died of his injuries, officials said.

Avila's body was transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for autopsy and examination.

Officials said no law enforcement fired their weapons during the incident and that a handgun was found in the sedan.

Officials said the incident remains under investigation by the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation's Culpeper Field Office.

This is a developing story, so anyone with more information can email newstips@wtvr.com to send a tip.