Suspect in rampage kills self after shootout with police

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- A former security guard wanted in the slayings of five people shot himself to death during a furious gun battle with police early Monday, leaving a video suicide note boasting that he had "put on a hell of a show."

"I giveth and I taketh away, that's how it goes in (expletive) life," Joseph Ferguson said on the tape, which authorities showed to reporters.

Ferguson, 20, committed suicide in a stolen car shortly after midnight following a frenzied, 40-minute chase through suburban Rancho Cordova. The shootout left a bystander critically injured and a Highway Patrol officer wounded.

The suicide ended a weekend rampage that led authorities to evacuate Ferguson's co-workers from their homes for their own safety.

It was the second killing spree in Sacramento in three weeks. Late last month, a Ukrainian immigrant allegedly stabbed to death his pregnant wife and five relatives, then vanished for 10 days before he was captured.

Authorities say Ferguson began killing people Saturday night because he was despondent over getting suspended from his supervisor's job at Burns Security a week earlier. He was suspended after his ex-girlfriend, Burns guard Nina Susu, said he vandalized her car after the breakup.

She and another former co-worker were the first to die, shot as they worked at a city maintenance yard.

As the manhunt spread, police and Burns officials evacuated employees from their homes and escorted them to safe houses. Some 1,500 employees across Northern California were told to stay home from work Sunday for their protection.

Said he would kill himself

By then, authorities say, Ferguson had holed up in the home of a Burns supervisor. He made the video there Sunday as he held the man and the man's wife hostage. In the video, he said he would soon kill himself.

"I put on a hell of a show," Ferguson said on the tape, wearing a black bulletproof vest, fingerless gloves and displaying a 9mm semiautomatic pistol. "I've taken four victims, this should be good enough to last about a week on the news. It's time to feed the news media."

Police say he killed the supervisor after 12 hours, then fled in the man's car as the wife called for help. Authorities could not immediately explain why the supervisor had not been taken to a safe location.

Police have also said Ferguson made cellular phone calls during the attacks, saying he wanted to commit a crime bloodier than that attributed to the 27-year-old Ukrainian, Nikolay Soltys. Ferguson said "he was going to outdo Soltys, something along those lines," said police spokesman Sgt. Daniel Hahn.

Ferguson had no criminal record. Police say they found a Nazi flag and white supremacist literature at his home, but said they don't believe race played a role in the killings.

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