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Bogota Gunman Kills 26 People, Then Gunned Down By Police

December 5, 1986

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ 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.

At least six other people were wounded.

″I have never seen so much blood in my life,″ said criminal investigator Judge Gloria Lucena.

Police did not know the motive of the gunman, Campos Elias Delgado. Friends described him as a man who hated violence, but also said he repeatedly beat his mother.

Authorities said the bloodbath began Thursday afternoon when Delgado fatally shot his mother, 72-year-old Rita Delgado, in the apartment they shared.

He covered her body with newspapers and set it on fire before going to three other apartments in the building and shooting whoever opened their doors, killing four women. A fifth woman died later at a hospital, police said.

Delgado, who teaches English, then visited one of his students, identified only as Clemencia. The woman said in a radio report that Delgado did not give any indication of what had happened.

She said he stayed for about an hour and remained standing the entire time without unbuttoning his coat. He kept a briefcase at his side, Clemencia said.

Police said Delgado was wearing an ammunition belt and carrying additional rounds in his briefcase.

After leaving Clemencia, Delgado walked to a nearby restaurant where he drank eight vodka tonics, at dinner, read an English-language magazine and then began firing at other diners with a .38-caliber revolver, witnesses said.

Witnesses said Delgado strolled through the restaurant and had to reload several times amid the pleas for mercy. About 30 diners and staff were in the restaurant at the time.

One of the diners, Juan Guillermo Gomez, said police using loudspeakers ordered Delgado to give himself up, but that he kept shooting, firing at those already wounded.

″He was a madman. He kept shooting and shooting,″ said Gomez. ″At first, we thought the shots were firecrackers. Then we realized it was a madman at the bar, shooting at all of us.″ Firecrackers are commonly set off in Latin American countries during the Christmas season.

Police stormed the restaurant and killed Delgado with several shots to the head.

Authorities said 15 people, including Delgado, died at the restaurant and six died later at hospitals. A total of 15 women and 12 men were killed in the massacre, counting Delgado and his mother.

Ms. Lucena said most of the victims were shot in the head.

″I had to interrupt proceedings concerning the corpses because I felt I was going to faint. I had to have some fresh air,″ she told reporters who went to the restaurant.

In the United States, the worst one-day massacre by a lone assailant occurred on July 18, 1984 in San Ysidro, Calif. A jobless security guard, James Oliver Huberty, shot and killed 21 people at a McDonald’s restaurant before he was killed by a police sharpshooter.

Delgado had lived in West Germany, the United States and France and had returned to Colombia two years ago, said a friend, Saul Serrato. Delgado had planned to return to West Germany to live, Serrato said.

Serrato said Delgado gave English classes at his apartment and was taking French and science classes.

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