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Ex-cop accused of killing 2 people, kidnapping son found dead after a police chase in Oregon

Elias Huizar's 1-year-old son was found safe and is in the custody of Oregon State Police.
Posted at 3:17 PM, Apr 23, 2024

A former police officer suspected of killing two people in Washington state and then triggering an Amber Alert after fleeing with his son was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a police chase in Oregon, authorities announced on Tuesday.

Police said Elias Huizar's 1-year-old son Roman Santos, whom he was accused of kidnapping, is safely in the custody of Oregon State Police.

Police identified Huizar as a person of interest after officers responded to a shooting at Wiley Elementary School near the Washington-Oregon state line just before 3:30 p.m. on Monday as students were being released for the day and found a woman dead outside.

The woman was later identified as Huizar's ex-wife, Amber Rodriguez, who was an employee at the school, officials said.

Wiley Elementary and other schools in the Richland School District were temporarily put on lockdown. Wiley canceled classes for Tuesday but officials said school resumed Wednesday, according to a notice on its website.

Later Monday evening, police said officers went to execute a search warrant at Huizar's home and discovered another person, described as a “known associate of the suspect,” had been killed.

The second victim's identity was not released, but the Amber Alert stated Huizar is suspected of killing his ex-wife and girlfriend.

Police said Huizar's vehicle was spotted headed south on Interstate 5 near Eugene, Oregon, by a state trooper Tuesday afternoon. Two troopers initiated a high-speed pursuit that ended when the suspect crashed and was subsequently pronounced dead at the scene from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to an Oregon State Police spokesperson.

The Tri-City Herald reported that before the killings and abduction on Monday, Huizar, 39, was under investigation for allegedly raping a friend of his teenage girlfriend and was out on bond after being charged in February. Court documents stated the girlfriend is Roman Santos' mother, the Tri-City Herald reported.

Benton County Prosecutor Eric Eisinger said Huizar had been charged with rape of a child in the second and third degree. Now, he is wanted for first-degree premeditated murder in connection to Rodriguez's death.

Huizar's ex-wife had recently filed for a protection order and change of custody for their two sons, ages 5 and 9, the Tri-City Herald reported from court documents.

When Huizar was previously arrested for the rape charge, the city of Yakima released a statement that said he was an employee there until February 2022. The statement did not say why Huizar left.

Officials with the Richland School District said Tuesday that Huizar was formerly a school resource officer at a neighboring school district and had worked at Richland schools as a substitute teacher until June 2023.