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Campo Elías DELGADO MORALES

 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 
 
 
Classification: Spree killer
Characteristics: Colombian Vietnam War veteran - Parricide - Revenge
Number of victims: 30
Date of murder: December 4, 1986
Date of birth: January 19, 1934
Victims profile: Men and women (including his mother)
Method of murder: Shooting (handgun)
Location: Bogotá, Colombia
Status: Killed during a shoot-out with the police the same day
 
 

 
 

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Campo Elias Delgado (June 24, 1934 – December 4, 1986) was a Colombian Vietnam War veteran who killed 30 people, and wounded 15 more at a luxurious Bogota restaurant before apparently being shot dead by police.

Since he only had a revolver and a knife and many of the dead were killed by an Uzi, it is alleged that the police were responsible for some of the deaths.

Life

Delgado was born 14 May 1934, in Chinácota, Colombia and he studied medicine. In 1970 he was drafted in the Vietnam War and served in the second tour as a voluntary, he was an electronics engineer, part of the U.S. Air Force, a Green Beret and part of the U.S. Army Special Forces with some distinctions.

Friends reported that his experience in Vietnam had made him antisocial and bitter. A refugee in the streets of New York, after a fight with a thief he returned to Bogotá. After his return as a Vietnam war hero, Delgado lived by teaching private English lessons and was taking graduate studies at the Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá.

He was no longer able to develop friendships, for which he blamed his mother, Rita Elisa Morales de Delgado, and his father had committed suicide when Delgado was married in Argentina. As the years went by, he grew more and more resentful of his mother. The capstone of this story of loneliness was the murder of his mother on 4 December 1986, after which he embarked on a horrific killing spree.

The Murderer’s Path

The murders started in the afternoon of 4 December 1986 in the apartment of one of Delgado’s English students. There he stabbed to death his 15 year old pupil Claudia Rincón and her mother, Nora Becerra de Rincón.

He then returned to the apartment he shared with his mother. Delgado packed his briefcase full of ammunition and loaded his pistol. He walked up behind his mother and killed her with a single stab to the back of the neck. He wrapped her corpse in newspapers and set them on fire and ran through the apartment complex screaming "¡Fuego! ¡Fuego!" (Fire! Fire!) luring people into the main hallway, where he killed them one by one. He killed one man with the knife, then took the firearm from the briefcase and opened fire on others, killing five more people.

He then left for the Italian restaurant in the Chapinero district. He carried a .32 calibre revolver, five boxes of ammunition hidden in a briefcase, and a hunting knife, which he discarded while walking to the restaurant.

Delgado arrived at the restaurant at around 19:30 EST and ordered an expensive meal (spaghetti alla bolognese according to accounts of survivors and Mendoza's book), red wine, and eight vodka tonics. About one hour into the dinner, he opened fire on the diners. A woman quickly called police who arrived ten minutes later. Delgado had shot twenty-one people to death, mostly women, by the time police arrived. His method was to corner his victim and shoot them at point-blank range in the forehead and then move on to the next victim. A further fifteen were wounded. Delgado promised himself not to kill any children, but he accidentally killed a six-year-old girl sitting at an adjacent table when his pistol misfired. When police arrived Delgado turned his attention to them, holding them off for one minute. He was apparently killed with a shot to the temple by a police officer. There is also a belief that Delgado committed suicide. After some time, police discovered with a comparison of the bullets that Delgado was shot by a police officer, when he was reloading.

Victims

Those killed by Delgado were:

  • Nora Isabel Becerra de Rincón,

  • Claudia Marcela Rincón, 14, daughter of Nora Becerra

  • Rita Elisa Morales de Delgado, Delgado's mother

  • Gloria Isabel Agudelo León, 50

  • Gloria Inés Gordi Galat

  • Nelsy Patricia Cortés, 26

  • Matilde Rocío González Rojas, 23

  • Mercedes Gamboa Gonzáles, 20

  • Maria Claudia Bermúdez Durán

  • Diana Cuevas, 45, executive of Revista Cromos

  • Carlos Alfredo Cabal Cabal, leader of the Nuevo Liberalismo in Valle

  • Consuelo Pezantes Andrade

  • Antonio Maximiliano Pezantes

  • Hernando Ladino Benavides, 41

  • Grace Guzmán Valenzuela

  • Giorgio Pindi Vanelli

  • Judith Glogower Lester

  • Zulemita Glogower Lester

  • Alvaro J. Montes

  • Jairo Enrique Gómez Remolina, director of Revista Vea

  • Rita Julia Valenzuela de Guzmán, 51

  • Andrés Montaño Figueroa

  • Alvaro Pérez Buitrago, major in the Colombian military

  • Sonia Adriana Alvarado

  • Guillermo Umaña Montoya

  • Margie Cubillos Garzón, 6

  • Laureano Bautista Fajardo

  • Sandra Henao de López

Among the wounded were: Victor Mauricio Pérez Serrano, Maribel Arce de Pérez, Juliet Robledo, Jose Darío Martínez, Miriam Ortiz de Parrado, Alfonso Cubillos, Yolanda Garzón de Cubillos, Jhon Cubillos Garzón and Pedro Jose Sarmiento.

The Novel

In 2002, Colombian writer Mario Mendoza published “Satanas” (Satan), a novel that analyzes the case of Delgado. The book was very successful and received several international awards. Mario Mendoza met Delgado at the university in Bogota when he was a Literature student, and he actually talked to Delgado just a couple of days before the massacre.

The Film

In 2006, Colombian filmmakers Rodrigo Guerrero (Producer) and Andi Baiz (Director), adapted "Satanas" into a film (with the same title). The story is framed in a context of urban solitude in the modern world and sheds some light on the motivations and anxieties of Campo Elias Delgado but avoiding explicit or manichean conclusions.


"I have a Problem. I don't love my mother."

Delgado served the USA Air Force, apparently with some distinction, before returning to his homeland of Bogata, Colombia. In 1986 he was 52 years old and he was living with his mother and working as an electronics engineer.

Apparently he didn't really get along with other people that much because he was a very bossy person. He always addressed people as if they were members of his squadron. I guess all that army training in dehumanising our fellow humans paid off for Delgado.

I'm not really sure why, but on December 4, 1986, Delgado snapped. He told one of his few friends that he didn't like his mother, then went home and killed her. To get rid of the problem of a bothersome body he rolled her up in newspaper and set her alight. Now I know that Delgado wasn't the brightest of chaps, but I would have thought that setting a fire inside ones home isn't very smart, practically or tactically, and that even the tiniest of minds could figure that out. But there was method in his madness.

I guess that the fire got out of control because Delgado had to leave the apartment. He went next door and knocked on the door. He shot the guy that answered, then went on to knock on a couple more doors. The people in the building can't have been much smarter that Delgado because they kept answering, despite the sounds of gunshots. By the time Campo Delgado left the building six of his neighbours were dead.

Campo decided that it was time to relax a little following the initial massacre, so he went to a nice restaurant, a very expensive one by all accounts, and had a lovely meal. He paid the bill, then ordered two drinks from a waiter. He paid the bill for the drinks then, as the waiter described it, "He stood up and began shooting in all directions."

Twenty-one diners were killed in the ensuing violence. The police showed up quickly, and the shoot out lasted for nearly thirty minutes. Throught thisnshootout Delgado kept picking off 'innocents'. Also during this time Delgado went through five boxes of ammunition.

The violence came to an end when a police bullet found it way into Delgado's head. He was killed instantly.

A witness later claimed that Delgado had been very patient when picking off his victims. They said that he aimed very directly at the head, and made sure that he had killed each intended victim.


Gunman in Bogotá kills mother, 18 others

The Boston Globe

December 5, 1986

BOGOTÁ -- A gunman killed his mother yesterday, set her on fire and then killed 18 others, including 14 in a restaurant in a fashionable section of Bogotá, police said. The man, identified as Campo Elias Delgado, then shot himself to death, police said.


Gunman kills 26, is slain

Mother, neighbors victims in Colombia

Philadelphia Daily News

December 5, 1986

A 52-year-old teacher fatally shot his mother, set her afire and went on a shooting spree in his apartment building and a nearby restaurant before being killed by police.

A total of 27 people died.


28 lie dead after gunman ends rampage

Detroit Free Press

December 6, 1986

BOGOTÁ, Colombia -- Campo Elias Delgado Morales, who was said to be a fan of the novel "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," was 52 and lived with his mother.

Neighbors said he didn't talk to her much -- except to argue, kick her around sometimes and punch her out.


28 are slain in a rampage in Colombia

December 6, 1986

A man who was described as hating violence stabbed a woman and her daughter to death, killed his mother and five other women, then ate a leisurely meal before killing 20 more persons in a cafe.

They identified the killer as Campos Elias Delgado, 52 years old. Police shot him to death at the end of the spree of 28 murders, the authorities said, adding that they did not know of a motive for the killings. Police quoted witnesses as saying Delgado had fought with US forces in the Vietnam War. But the US Defense Department said it had no such record. Police gave this account of the killings:

At about 3 p.m. Thursday, Delgado went to the apartment of an acquaintance, Norta Becerra. He repeatedly stabbed Becerra and her 14-year-old daughter, Claudia. The doorman at the Becerra apartment building notified police, who found the bodies.

Delgado then returned to his own apartment, where he shot his mother, covered her body with newspapers and clothes and set it afire. He then went to other apartments in the same building and shot five women who answered knocks at the door. Delgado, an English teacher, then went to the home of a former student, who said he appeared calm as they talked for about an hour. He was carrying a briefcase, the former student, identified only as Clemencia, told a radio station. After the conversation Delgado went to Pozzetto, a fashionable Italian restaurant in northern Bogotá, drank eight vodka tonics, ate dinner, read a newspaper and then strolled through the restaurant, firing at diners and workers with a 38-caliber revolver. He shot most of the victims in the head from five or six feet away and paused several times to reload from an ammunition belt he had in the briefcase.

Juan Guillermo Gomez, a diner, said police surrounded the restaurant and ordered Delgado to surrender. He continued shooting and police stormed in, killing him with several shots to the head. Saul Serrato, a friend, said Delgado had been a crewman on a plane in Vietnam and had fought with US troops there. "His experience in the war in Vietnam seems to have been very negative because he hated violence," Serrato said in an interview with the Caracol radio chain.

In Washington, Pentagon officials said they were unable to find any records indicating that Delgado had served with US military forces in Vietnam. Other acquaintances told radio stations that Delgado did not get along with his mother.


Vietnam veteran kills 29 in Bogotá

Hospitals yesterday appealed for blood donations to save survivors of a massacre carried out by a deranged Vietnam war veteran who killed 29 people, including his mother, when he ran wild on Thursday.

Even in a country as notoriously violent as Colombia, the mayhem wrought by Campo Elias Delgado, who served with US forces in Vietnam, sent shock waves through the nation. The "Rambo-style bloodbath", as the press has dubbed it, ended when Delgado shot himself dead as police closed Chapinero district where most of his victims died.

Delgado, aged 52, lived for several years in the US and served with the US Army, either as a combat soldier or medic, in Vietnam. At the height of the blood-letting, Delgado was heard to boast that he was a Vietnam veteran.

Among the dead was the daughter-in-law of former President Betancur, whose four-year term ended in August. Eleven people were wounded, several critically.

Delgado returned to Colombia 15 years ago to live with his mother in a Bogotá apartment. The relationship was tense and often violent, said neighbours who claimed that he often beat his mother.

Police disclosed that on Thursday afternoon Delgado stabbed to death a 35-year-old housewife and her daughter, aged 15, in a house in northern Bogotá. Both victims had previously lived in the same apartment building as Delgado and were close friends of his mother.

He went back home where he shot his mother through the head at point-blank range, wrapped her body in newspaper and set it ablaze before going, on the pretext of needing a telephone to call the fire brigade, to nearby apartments, where he killed six neighbours.

After families barricaded themselves into their flats, he walked 10 blocks to the restaurant where he was a regular customer. He drank eight vodkas with orange juice before ordering wine and a plate of spaghetti.

Delgado then went to a toilet with a briefcase and returned brandishing a revolver and hunting knife. Of the 35 people, customers and staff, in the restaurant, he shot and killed 20. Several victims begged for their lives.

President Virgilio Barco expressed shock at the massacre.


28 die as Colombian goes on a rampage with knife and gun

December 5, 1986

BOGOTÁ, Colombia - A man killed 28 people, including his mother and 20 diners at a restaurant, Thursday night in a rampage that ended when he was shot to death by the police, the authorities said today.

The police, who said they had determined no motive for the shootings, gave this account: The assailant, Campos Elias Delgado, 52 year old, went to the apartment of an acquaintance, 34-year-old Norta Becerra, and repeatedly knifed her and her 14-year-old daughter, Claudia, killing them.

He then returned to his apartment, where he shot his mother at the apartment they shared, wrapped her body in newspapers and clothing and set it afire. He went to other apartments in the building and fatally shot five women who answered knocks on their doors.

And then Mr. Delgado visited an acquaintance, who said later that he had appeared calm, and then went to a restaurant where he ate dinner and had eight drinks before pulling out a .38-caliber revolver.

The killer strolled through the restaurant shooting people, most of them in the head from five to six feet. He paused to reload several times from the supply of 400 cartridges he had brought along in an ammunition belt and briefcase.

A diner, Juan Guillermo Gómez, said the police surrounded the restaurant and ordered Mr. Delgado to surrender. However, he continued shooting and the police stormed in, killing him with several shots in the head.

Saul Serrato, a friend, said Mr. Delgado had been a crewman on a plane in Vietnam and fought with United States troops there.

In Washington, Pentagon officials said that they were unable to find any records indicating Mr. Delgado had served with the United States military in Vietnam, but that they could not rule out that possibility.

 

 

 
 
 
 
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