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Former cop accused of murder and abduction dies of self-inflicted gunshot wound after manhunt, officials say

A man suspected of murdering two women this week in central Washington state and abducting a 1-year-old child died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a police chase in Oregon, authorities said. 

The suspect was earlier identified as 40-year-old Elias Huizar, a former police officer who fled the scene of a deadly shooting at an elementary school on Monday in the city of West Richland. 

Oregon State Police on Tuesday afternoon discovered Huizar's vehicle driving south on Interstate 5 near Eugene, resulting in a pursuit. The suspect got into a minor crash and both he and police fired at each other before the suspect drove away again, Oregon State Police Cpt. Kyle Kennedy said Tuesday night. Nobody was hurt in the initial exchange of gunfire, according to Kennedy.

The suspect then crashed into another vehicle a few miles away, and when police caught up with him, they found him dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Kennedy said.

Roman Santos, the 1-year-old child, was taken safely into custody by state troopers, police said.

Huizar was seen driving a black sedan overnight Monday into Tuesday, West Richland police said in a previous update about the manhunt. They received the tip from police in Portland, Oregon.

Elias Huizar Washington State Patrol / West Richland Police Department

On Monday, Huizar allegedly shot one woman dead outside of William Wiley Elementary School in West Richland before authorities executed a search warrant on his home and discovered the body of another homicide victim, West Richland police said after responding to the incident at around 3:30 p.m. local time. 

The women killed were Huizar's ex-wife and girlfriend, according to an Amber Alert issued by Washington State Patrol on behalf of West Richland police at around 9:45 p.m. Monday night. The alert extended from Washington to Oregon. Richland police did not share the identity of either of the two victims in their own statements about the murders, although they said the person found dead in Huizar's home "is a known associate of the suspect."

Huizar previously worked as a police officer in Yakima, which is about an hour from West Richland by car, CBS affiliate KIRO reported. His tenure with the police department lasted from 2014 to 2022. Earlier this year, Huizar was accused in Yakima of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl and charged with second-degree rape and furnishing alcohol for minors, according to KEPR, another CBS affiliate in the area. Separately, Huizar faces a third-degree rape charge for allegedly having an intimate relationship over several years with a girl who is now 17 years old, according to the news station. 

CBS News contacted the Benton County Prosecutor's Office, where the rape charges were brought against Huizar, for more information but did not receive an immediate reply.

Police earlier said they believed Huizar was headed to Mexico with the abducted child, and originally flagged to the public a silver 2009 Toyota Corolla with Washington state license plates, which police said he had used to flee the scene of the school shooting. Officials described 1-year-old Roman Huizar as 2 feet tall with brown hair and brown eyes. The child's relationship to Elias Huizar was not explicitly noted. 

Police had asked for help locating the suspect, saying he was "likely to commit more crimes."

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