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Man Kills 28 People and Self

December 5, 1986

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) _ A man described as hating violence stabbed to death a woman and her daughter, killed his own mother and five other women, then ate a leisurely meal before killing 20 more people in a a cafe, police reported Friday.

They identitifed the killer as 52-year-old Campos Elias Delgado and said he was shot to death by police who had been trailing the murder spree in which Delgado killed 28 people.

Police quoted witnesses as saying Delgado had fought with U.S. forces in the Vietnam War, but the U.S. Defense Department said it had no such record. Police gave this account of the killings:

Delgado went to the apartment of an aquaintance, 34-year-old Norta Becerra, at about 3 p.m. Thursday. He repeatedly stabbed Mrs. Becerra and her 14-year- old daughter, Claudia.

The doorman at the Becerra apartment building notified police, who found the bodies.

Delegado then returned to his own apartment where he shot his mother, covered her body with newspapers and clothes, and set it afire. He went to other apartments in the same 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 Delgado, carrying a brief case, appeared calm and composed as they talked for about an hour.

After the conversation Delgado went to the fashionable Pozzetto restaurant in northern Bogota, 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 Italian restuarant and ordered Delgado to surrender. He continued shooting and police stormed in, killing him with several bullets in the head.

″He was a madman. He kept shooting and shooting,″ Gomez said. ″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 a feature of the Christmas season in Latin America.

Police initially had reported Delgado killed his mother and then the others, but said later the killings began with the stabbing deaths of Mrs. Becerra and her daughter, but they had not determined the motive.

Saul Serrato, a friend, said Delgado had been a crewman on a plane in Vietnam and fought with U.S. 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 chain.

In Washington, Pentagon officials said they were unable to find any records indicating Delgado had served with U.S. military forces in Vietnam.

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. Arnold Williams, said ″preliminary checks don’t show anyone with that name on active duty or retired from the armed forces.″

An Air Force spokesman, Capt. Miles Wiley, said a check of records showed that Delgado was never in the U.S. Air Force. Spokesmen for other branches of the armed forces said they had not uncovered anything to indicate Delgado had served in the military but they could not yet rule out the possibility.

According to Serrato, Delgado had lived in Germany, France and the United States, returning to Colombia two years ago. He said Delgado planned to return to Germany because of guerrilla violence here and the many street robberies in Bogota.

Serrato said Delgado taught English at his apartment, studied French at the Colombian-French Institute and attended science classes at the Javeriana University, a Roman Catholic school in Bogota.

Other acquaintances interviewed by radio stations said Delgado did not get along with his mother and beat her when he was angry about something.

Some quoted him as saying Thursday, just before the rampage: ″People are going to know about me real soon. I have a problem. My mother doesn’t love me.″

Delgado was unemployed. Friends said he lived on retirement pay from the U.S. military.

One of Delgado’s English students, who identified herself in a radio interview only as Clemencia, a mother of two children, said Delgado visited her Thursday afternoon.

Although he arrived soon after killing the Bercerras, his mother and the other women, she said he gave no indication that anything terrible had happened.

″He was always a very correct man,″ she said. ″He didn’t smoke and he didn’t drink and he was always studying.″

About his mother, Clemencia said: ″He always talked about her in a bad way. He didn’t love her, and he always told us he didn’t want to talk about her.″

Delgado nearly always wore short-sleeved shirts with no jacket, but Clemencia said he was dressed in a suit Thursday afternoon, stood throughout the hour he spent with her and did not unbutton his jacket.

He had a briefcase with him and kept it at his side all the time, she said.