A federal drug agent suspected of murdering his ex-girlfriend in Orange County, Calif., Wednesday shot and killed himself yesterday while being chased by police in Louisiana, officials said.
Tony Gerard Bailey, 35, had been the subject of a nationwide search after witnesses and police said he shot and killed Veda Harris and wounded her sister, Wendy Campbell, in a jealous rage at Campbell's home in Fullerton, Calif., about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.
Yesterday, the Drug Enforcement Administration agent showed up at a home in Opelousas--a small town north of Lafayette, La.--that was already under surveillance by police there, said Fullerton police Sgt. Kevin Hamilton. He declined to say how police knew to target the home or how Bailey is related to its residents.
"The officers saw him pull in, confronted him and engaged in a brief foot pursuit," Hamilton said. "During the chase, [Bailey] shot himself with a pistol."
Hamilton said Bailey arrived at the house in the 1996 black Ford Explorer he was last seen driving from the murder scene in Fullerton. Police believe the gun he used to take his own life was the 9mm handgun he fired four times inside Campbell's home. DEA officials have said the gun is not his duty weapon because Bailey has not had access to it for two years.
Bailey, a 10-year agent with the DEA, had been on paid administrative leave since 1997, when he was charged with felony child abuse for allegedly shaking his infant daughter so violently that she suffered permanent brain damage. A judge dropped the charges a year later.
Police said that child, now 2 and severely handicapped, may have witnessed her mother's slaying. She and five other children, siblings and cousins, were at the home that night.
Campbell's fiance, James Fife, 45, said yesterday he was relieved that the search was over so his family can "start healing." The victims' children have been in protective custody since the shooting, and Fife said he and Campbell, who is recovering from a gunshot wound, hope to become legal guardians of Harris's three children.