By Christian Davenport
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Arlington County police searched the apartment of a motorist who shot an Alexandria police officer during a traffic stop Tuesday night and then killed himself, and they found his wife's body yesterday in a closet of their home behind a bullet-riddled door, police said.
The motorist, Robert K. Hui, 22, is suspected of fatally shooting his wife, Sarah Tredop, 19, on Monday or Tuesday, police said. Last month, police were called to the apartment for a domestic dispute and learned that Hui owned "multiple firearms," according to court records.
Tredop's slaying was the prelude to a harrowing chain of events that left an officer in the hospital and shut down one of the Northern Virginia's main traffic arteries. It ended, police said, when Hui shot himself in the head while driving near the 14th Street bridge at Boundary Channel Drive.
Alexandria Officer Kyle Russell did not know about Tredop's slaying when he spotted Hui's Lexus sport-utility vehicle swerving on Interstate 395 about 8 p.m. Tuesday and pulled it over, Alexandria Police Chief David P. Baker said yesterday. An officer in training who was with Russell approached Hui on the driver's side, but Hui focused on Russell on the passenger side, Baker said.
Hui looked disheveled and disoriented, "as if he had just gotten into a fight," and Russell asked him whether anything was wrong, Baker said. Hui grabbed a handgun off the seat and shot Russell in the chest, he said. The bullet struck near his heart, Baker said, but was stopped by the bullet-resistant vest Russell was wearing under his uniform, a model known as Second Chance.
Russell and the officer in training, who was not identified, ducked for cover, and the SUV sped away, Baker said. He said Russell, 26, called in the shooting, saying something to the effect of, "I've been shot. But I'm okay. I think the vest got it."
Russell, who has been on the force 3 1/2 years, was being treated yesterday at Inova Fairfax Hospital and was "expected to make a full recovery," said Alexandria police spokeswoman Ashley Hildebrandt.
"Bottom line is: No vest, he's a goner," Baker said. "It was a .45-caliber."
Hui shot himself in the head about two miles north of the spot where he was pulled over, authorities said, and the SUV crashed on the side of the highway near the 14th Street bridge. In addition to the handgun, a rifle was found in the vehicle, police said.
Hui was honorably discharged from the Army on Sept. 12 after serving less than two years, said Col. Dan Baggio, a spokesman for the U.S. Army Military District of Washington. Hui was a private first class assigned to the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment's Caisson Platoon, the horse contingent of the Old Guard at Fort Myer.
A woman identifying herself as Hui's mother hung up after saying she was "not really sure" what happened. "I'm still investigating myself." Relatives of Tredop could not be located.
Last month, police went to Hui and Tredop's apartment in the 2000 block of Columbia Pike to investigate a report of a domestic disturbance. Arlington police spokeswoman Crystal Nosal said Tredop was arrested but did not say on what charge.
On Friday, a neighbor, Darlene Lawson, found Tredop passed out in the apartment stairwell, "like she fell down the steps but she was in a slump." Next to her was a plastic bag full of dust-cleaning aerosol cans, often used in "huffing," a high derived from inhaling chemical propellants.
When Lawson woke her, she said Tredop "jumped up and said, 'I can walk, I can walk.' And was real belligerent." She left the apartment and took off down the street. Fearing for her safety, Lawson followed her and waved down nearby police officers.
Police took Tredop to a hospital on a mental detention order, where she was treated and released, Nosal said.
About 5 p.m. Tuesday, a few hours before he killed himself, Hui was sitting on a bench behind the Dorchester Apartments, Lawson said. "He had this look in his face like he was tormented," she said. "He scared . . . me. I got a cold chill -- the look on his face."
On her MySpace page, Tredop talked about living much of her life in Germany and moving to Seattle before Arlington. "I have the sweetest husband ever," she wrote. "And really that's it. Kinda boring . . . "
In a "90 things you should know about me" entry posted in 2005, she included:
"79- I Search: for drugs, drugs, drugs . . . (just kidding)
"80- I Love: my robert more than anything
"81- I Ache: when i fight with robert"
Staff researcher Meg Smith contributed to this report.