HEMET (AP) — A man shot to death his estranged wife Wednesday in a parking lot near a Riverside County courthouse and then killed himself ahead of a child-support hearing, police said.
Ralph Costales, 54, of Nuevo, was talking with Aimee Schulz after she pulled into the lot near the Hemet courthouse at 8:15 a.m., then shot her at least twice in the chest and walked away. He then drove off in an older silver Mercedes, said Hemet police Lt. Duane Wisehart.
With help from witnesses in the parking lot, police tracked down Costales and began following him about four miles away before he pulled over to the side of the road and shot himself, Wisehart said.
"It was pretty obvious we were following him and he knew what he just did," Wisehart said, adding that the car rolled forward into a drainage ditch after Costales killed himself.
Schulz, 37, filed for divorce in November, online court records show.
The couple married in 2004 and separated in October.
On Wednesday, the couple was due in court for a hearing about child and spousal support and use of a vehicle, according to court records.
Kimberly Jones, 45, told the Press-Enterprise that she ducked after she heard the gunfire, then ran over to find the woman bleeding and slumped in the driver's seat.
"I saw her breathe and tried to do CPR, but it was her last breath. Then I backed away and looked at him," Jones told the newspaper. "He was angry enough to kill her, so my thought was if he couldn't have her then maybe he didn't want anyone else to. It was just a horrible sight to see."
The couple has a daughter who is about 10 or 11 years old, Wisehart said. She is with Schulz's family, he said.
A portion of the parking lot was closed after the shooting.