On September 7, 2001, a man in Simi
Valley, California, allegedly shot and killed three relatives of an ex-girlfriend
because he wrongly believed the woman had given him a viral disease.
Reynaldo Herrera Rodriguez, 35, allegedly entered his ex-girlfriend's
home through a garage door and shot five family members, killing three.
The ex, Maria Rios, 24, was not home at the time. Police have launched a
statewide manhunt for the murderous civil engineer who worked for the
state Transportation Department.
Rios said she casually dated Rodriguez
after meeting him at a 2000 New Year's Eve party but told him about five
months ago that she didn't want a romantic relationship with him. At one
point, she said, he accused her of giving him a virus.
The dead were identified as Rios'
grandmother, Esperanza Martinez, 80; her younger brother, Ricardo
Calderon, 12; and her daughter, Shantal Rios, 4. Rios' sister, Lucia
Vargas, 19, was shot in the abdomen and hand and was in stable condition.
Her brother Rigoberto Calderon, 16, was shot in the leg. Another brother,
Rafael Calderon Jr., 18, broke a wrist after jumping out a second-story
The manhunt for the gunman accused of
killing three members of his ex-girlfriend's family ended in the Los
Padres National Forest a day after the killings at a campsite when the
suspect killed himself as officers closed in. "I would've much
rather for him to stay alive and suffer like we are suffering, but he
took his own life and he's not suffering anymore," said Rios, his
24-year-old ex-girlfriend. Rodriguez, apparently drove his SUV into the
forest and set up camp there despite the intense manhunt. Campers told
rangers he had been in the area begging for water and food. U.S. Forest
Service rangers alerted sheriff's deputies after spotting a vehicle that
fit the description of his Ford Explorer. The vehicle was parked at the
trailhead of a campground near Reyes Peak, about 30 miles north of Ojai.
Simi Valley murder suspect body
found in forest
September 8, 2001
SIMI VALLEY, California (CNN) -- Police Friday
discovered the body of a man wanted for killing three people in a Simi
Valley neighborhood this week.
State park rangers found a rental car hired to
Reynaldo Herrera Rodriguez, 35, near Ojai, California, in a remote
mountain region northwest of Los Angeles, said Sheriff's Department
spokesman Cpt. Ken Cozzens. Officers gave chase to a man seen near the
car, but lost him.
A massive search of the Los Padres National Forest
turned up the body of a man shot in the head about an hour later.
Officers heard a single shot fired before finding
ther victim, and a gun was located next to the body. Police later
confirmed the dead man was Rodriguez.
Fifteen units, helicopters and a SWAT team took part
in the search.
Rodriguez went to the home of his former girlfriend,
Maria Rios, Wednesday and randomly fired at her relatives, said Simi
Valley Police Sgt. Bob Gardner. Rios was not home at the time of the
Witnesses told police Rodriguez was last seen driving
a rented dark blue 2002 Ford Explorer. A 2000 Toyota model registered to
Rodriguez was discovered in a parking lot early Friday.
The carnage began Wednesday afternoon when Rodriguez
entered the open garage of the home and fired a handgun, hitting Rios'
brother, Rigo Calderon, 16, police said.
The boy was treated for a gunshot wound to his right
thigh and released.
The suspect then entered the home "and fired at all
occupants he encountered," killing Esperanza Martinez, 80, the
grandmother of Rios, her brother Ricardo Calderon, 12, and her daughter,
Shantal Rios, 4, the police report said.
Rios' sister, Lucia Vargas, 19, suffered two gunshots
wounds, one to her abdomen and one to her left hand. She remained
hospitalized Friday in stable condition at Simi Valley Hospital.
Rios' brother, Rafael Calderon Jr., 18, suffered a
sprained ankle when he jumped from a second-story bathroom window.
The home belongs to Rios' parents, Ana and Rafael
Calderon, who were not home during the shooting.
Police are investigating a motive for the deadly