Ontario’s police oversight agency is probing the puzzling death of an alleged American murderer in the small Ontario city of Brockville, tucked along the U.S.-Canada border about 100 kilometres south of Ottawa.
Around 10:15 a.m. on Saturday, a 56-year-old man was fleeing from Brockville police officers when he vaulted a guardrail and fell from an overpass spanning Highway 401. He was pronounced dead in hospital.
In an initial news release published on the weekend, the Special Investigations Unit, the agency that investigates any police interaction involving a death, did not specify why Brockville police had been chasing the man, only referring to him as a “person of interest.”
But on Monday, the SIU identified the dead man as Alberto Ayala-Guerrero, a Texan, and confirmed that he was wanted in Houston on a murder charge in connection to the shooting death of his sister-in-law, Yenisleydi Dominguez two weeks ago.
Law-enforcement agencies in both countries have yet to divulge how he managed to cross a border that has been closed to non-essential traffic since March because of the pandemic.
By car, Brockville is roughly a 26-hour drive from Houston, where, on the morning of July 13, Mr. Ayala-Guerrero’s estranged wife and sister-in-law were getting ready to go to work at the airport when he allegedly came toward them with a gun, according to charging papers filed in Harris County District Court.
When Mr. Ayala-Guerrero put the gun to his ex-wife’s head, his sister-in-law, Ms. Dominguez, ran inside her apartment to alert her husband, the charging papers say.
Mr. Ayala-Guerrero let go of his ex-wife and chased his sister-in-law. When he got inside the apartment, he allegedly shot Ms. Dominguez in the face and tried to shoot her husband, but his gun jammed.
He bolted from scene, leaving his car behind.
Eight days later, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office signed off on murder charges and asked for a US$150,000 bond. Houston police told the public he might driving a white Kenworth dump truck with no licence plates.
But investigators now believe he made his way north in a Honda Civic.
Neither the Canada Border Services Agency nor the RCMP would say how or where Mr. Ayala-Guerrero crossed the border. Brockville sits across the St. Lawrence River from upstate New York. The nearest border crossing is 25 kilometres northeast in Johnstown, Ont.
While the border is technically sealed to non-essential traffic, the CBSA has a policy of not chasing vehicles that drive through crossings without stopping.
The SIU has assigned three investigators and one forensic specialist to the case and is asking the public to come forward with any information. A postmortem examination is scheduled for Tuesday.
With a report from Molly Hayes
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