BETTENDORF – The Illinois man suspected of killing a Bettendorf store clerk in August before taking his own life was upset because a landlord didn’t allow him to keep his dog at his parents’ place, according to police.
On Tuesday, Bettendorf police identified 21-year-old Manuel Rangel of Genoa, Ill., as the person they believe killed Brittany Wilson at the Big 10 Mart on 18th Street on Aug. 17.
Rangel took his own life following a police chase in Nebraska the day after Wilson’s murder, according to Bettendorf police.
“The investigation is still active and on-going, but we are certain based on all the facts and findings of the investigation that the suspect murdered Brittany Wilson,” Bettendorf Police Chief Keith Kimball said Tuesday in a press release.
“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 ... Our belief was he went in to rob the place. He was obviously an angry individual and something set him off... We do believe it was an attempted robbery that went bad,” Kimball told reporters during a press conference.
Police said they captured video of Rangel’s vehicle at the Big 10 Mart gas pumps about 10 minutes before customers called 911 to report they had found Wilson on the store’s floor, and Rangel allegedly told family members that he would be going to prison for a long time shortly before he shot himself in the head.
Relatives told police that Rangel was depressed for months and was upset over not being able to keep his dog at his parents’ house. He had to board the dog at a kennel and then wasn’t able to pay the boarding fees to retrieve the dog, according to police.
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According to a timeline laid out by Bettendorf police, Dekalk, Ill., sheriff’s deputies received a report of a burglary to the kennel in Genoa around 2:33 p.m. on Aug. 17. Investigators determined that someone had fired shots into the kennel’s door, and Rangel’s dog was missing.
A grey Chevrolet Cruze that belonged to Rangel’s mother was seen leaving the area of the burglary, police said.
An I-Pass toll road device picked up the Cruze heading west on Interstate 88 toward the Quad-Cities around 4:08 p.m. Aug. 17. The vehicle was spotted at the I-80/I-88 interchange at 5:06 p.m. and then on I-80 near LeClaire, Iowa, at 5:10 p.m.
Subsequent spottings placed the Cruze near TBK Sports Complex in Bettendorf parking lot. At 5:27 p.m., the vehicle was seen on video turning from 53rd Avenue to 18th Street, where Big 10 Mart is located.
“A video camera then has the vehicle pull up to a gas pump momentarily where the suspect gets out and walks around the back of the car and gets back in the vehicle and pulls up to the front door, making sure that no other vehicles were in the lot,” the police new release states. “At 5:35 p.m., the vehicle is observed running the red light making a right turn from the left and from 18th onto 53rd Avenue” and headed toward Davenport.
Customers called 911 at 5:40 p.m. after finding Wilson, according to police.
The following day, on Aug. 18, Rangel’s brother called Dekalb deputies to report that Rangel was missing. He said that Rangel had said in texts to family members that he was in Nebraska and was going to go to prison for a long time. The conversations led them to believe he was suicidal, according to police.
Family and law enforcement used the My Chevy app to find the Cruze in western Nebraska. Nebraska authorities then found the vehicle on I-80, and during a short chase, On Star was used to turn it off around mile marker 116 around 6 p.m.
Rangel then fired a single shot into his head with a pistol, police said.