The man suspected of shooting and killing a Bettendorf convenience store clerk died the following day, after apparently shooting himself in the head in Nebraska.
Manuel Rangel, 21, of Genoa, Illinois, was thought to have killed Brittany Wilson on Aug. 17 at the Big 10 Mart in Bettendorf. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on Aug. 18 after a short police pursuit in Nebraska, Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball said Tuesday during a media briefing at the Bettendorf Police Station.
The investigation is still ongoing, Kimball said, but he released the following timeline:
At 2:33 p.m. Aug. 17, the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office got a report of a burglary at a dog kennel in Genoa. There were gunshots in the door and a dog was missing. The dog was Rangel's.
A suspect vehicle that fled the scene was later identified as a dark gray Chevy Cruze belonging to Rangel’s mother. The car was recorded at 4:08 p.m. coming through the Interstate 88 Westbound Tollway Plaza I-Pass lanes, and at 5:06 p.m. was seen near the I-80 and I-88 interchange. At 5:10 p.m., it was observed on I-80 westbound near LeClaire.
Five minutes later, the car was seen going into the TBK Sports Complex parking lot, at Middle and Forest Grove roads. At 5:27 p.m., video captured it on 53rd Avenue driving west, turning northbound onto 18th Street near the Big 10.
The car pulled up to a gas pump momentarily, video showed. Rangel walked to the back of the car, then got back into it and pulled up to the front door, making sure no other vehicles were in the lot.
At 5:35 p.m., the car ran a red light and made a right turn from the left turn lane from 18th Street onto 53rd Avenue and continued westbound into Davenport.
Bettendorf Police got a 911 call at 5:40 p.m. from customers who found Wilson, 28, of Donahue, on the floor of the convenience store. Fire and Medic performed CPR, but Wilson died from her injuries.
On Aug. 18, Rangel’s brother reported to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office that Rangel was missing and suicidal. He had been depressed the last few months and was upset because he couldn't keep his dog at his parent’s house at the request of the landlord, his brother told officers.
Rangel was boarding the dog at a dog kennel and could not afford to get the dog back.
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Rangel’s brother said he talked to him and learned he took his mother’s 2016 Chevy Cruze and was in Nebraska.
The conversations and texts led his family to believe he was going to kill himself. He also told them he would be going to prison for a long time.
At some point, the family and the sheriff’s department accessed the My Chevy app and found the vehicle in western Nebraska. Law enforcement was alerted in an attempt to locate the car.
Nebraska State Patrol, Deuel County Sheriff’s Office and the Keith County Sheriff’s Office gave chase. OnStar was used to shut down the car. Just before 6 p.m., it came to a stop on I-80 eastbound. Rangel put a pistol to his head and fired a single gunshot, Kimball said.
When asked what led Bettendorf officers to suspect Rangel, Kimball would only say “cell phone information." Officers started to piece things together last week, he said.
Kimball said police are still investigating and doing “more forensics-type stuff" and will subpoena more cell phone records.
He added that the gun, ammunition and a phone were recovered from the Nebraska State Patrol.
During the briefing, Kimball dispelled several rumors circulating on social media. The suspect came and went through the front door, not the back door, he said. and no phone or video lines were cut prior to the shooting.
The shooting was not domestic-related, Kimball said.
“Absolutely the boyfriend had nothing to do with this,” he said. “Brittany had nothing to do with this. She did not deserve this, she did not bring this upon herself in any way. This was a random act, senseless murder … a lightning strike that hit our community, and a little bit of our innocence was lost that day.”
Kimball said police believe this was a case of a robbery gone bad.
“He was obviously an angry individual, and something set him off,” he said. “He was on the road, I think he was desperate, he didn’t know what direction he was probably even going.”