Former Police Officer Elias Huizar Identified as Suspect in Two Killings in West Richland, Washington

Former police officer Elias Huizar suspected of killing ex-wife and girlfriend, kidnapping 1-year-old son, before fatally shooting himself during police chase in Oregon.

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Mazhar Abbas
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Former Police Officer Elias Huizar Identified as Suspect in Two Killings in West Richland, Washington

Former Police Officer Elias Huizar Identified as Suspect in Two Killings in West Richland, Washington

Elias Huizar, a 40-year-old former police officer, has been identified as the suspect in two killings that occurred in West Richland, Washington on April 22. Huizar is accused of fatally shooting his ex-wife, Amber Marie Rodriguez, 31, who was a paraeducator at Wiley Elementary School. The shooting took place near the school bus parking lot. After the shooting, police discovered the body of Huizar's girlfriend at his residence while serving a search warrant.

Huizar, who was previously accused of raping two girls, fled the scene in a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla with Washington plates CBZ4745. An Amber Alert was issued for Huizar's 1-year-old son, Roman Santos, who was believed to be with him. Police warned that Huizar was armed and dangerous and likely to commit more crimes.

On April 23, the Oregon State Patrol located Huizar's vehicle on I-5 near Eugene, Oregon and initiated a pursuit. The chase ended with Huizar sustaining a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Roman Santos was found unharmed in the vehicle and taken safely into police custody.

Why this matters: This tragic incident highlights the importance of thorough background checks and the need for increased support for domestic violence victims. It also raises questions about the hiring practices of school districts and law enforcement agencies.

Huizar had recently worked as a substitute teacher in the Richland School District, despite his prior arrests for child sexual abuse charges. The district said it had terminated Huizar's employment following his arrest in February and that it had received recommendations from the Yakima School District before hiring him in 2022. Huizar was a former officer with the Yakima Police Department, having resigned in February 2022 after receiving discipline.

The West Richland Police Department has scheduled a press conference for April 24 at 10 a.m. to provide more information about the case. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the families and friends of these victims," said West Richland Police Chief Thomas Grego. "This is a heartbreaking tragedy, and we will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served."

Key Takeaways

  • Former police officer Elias Huizar suspected of killing ex-wife and girlfriend.
  • Huizar fled with his 1-year-old son, prompting an Amber Alert.
  • Huizar's vehicle was located in Oregon, leading to a pursuit where he shot himself.
  • Huizar had prior arrests for child sexual abuse but was hired as a substitute teacher.
  • West Richland Police to hold a press conference to provide more information.