Esteban Smith Shooting Update: Marine's slain wife surprised him with visit before he killed her, went on shooting rampage

Motel where Rubi Estefania Smith was found dead
CBS affiliate WRBL
Sign at Jacksonville, N.C. motel where Rubi Estefania Smith was found dead
CBS affiliate WRAL

(CBS/AP) LUBBOCK, Texas - The mother of 23-year-old marine Lance Cpl. Esteban J. Smith, who died amid a shooting rampage in West Texas, says her daughter-in-law had traveled from California to North Carolina to surprise Smith with a visit.

Authorities believe Smith fatally stabbed his wife, Rubi Estefania Smith in a Jacksonville, N.C., motel room near Camp Lejeune before the shooting rampage.

Lance Cpl. Smith died Sunday in a gunfight with Texas authorities after a shooting rampage that left one person dead and several hospitalized.

Rosalva Jimenez said her son had just married his wife in December and that he was preparing to leave the armed forces. "He wanted to come back, go to college, become a mechanical engineer," she said.

She also said she didn't know of any problems between her son and his wife. "Maybe they argued and he went crazy," she said.

Authorities have said the Texas victims were likely randomly targeted but have not said why Smith made the 1,500-mile trip to the town of Eden or where he may have been going.

"I imagine he was in Texas because maybe he was driving home" to Bakersfield, his mother said. "That's the road he would take." Jimenez said she's sad for the people affected but that her son wasn't a monster.

Smith was a veteran of two combat tours in Afghanistan.

Concho County Sheriff Richard Doane, who was wounded by the gunman, said the marine's intent was "to kill anybody and everybody."

An assault rifle, handgun and hundreds of rounds of ammunition were recovered from Smith's vehicle. Investigators have determined the firearms used in the shootings were not issued by the military.

Rubi Smith's remains were found Sunday afternoon at a motel near the gates of the sprawling Marine base on the North Carolina coast.

Police spokeswoman Beth Purcell said she appears to have died from a knife wound.

Complete coverage of the Texas shooting spree on Crimesider