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.
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
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
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.
Those killed by Delgado were:
Nora Isabel Becerra de Rincón,
Claudia Marcela Rincón, 14, daughter of Nora
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
Rita Julia Valenzuela de Guzmán, 51
Andrés Montaño Figueroa
Alvaro Pérez Buitrago, major in the Colombian
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.
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.
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
Gunman in Bogotá kills mother, 18
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
28 die as Colombian goes on a rampage with knife
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
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
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