In the early hours of Sunday, July 2, while driving through Seattle’s Queen Anne suburb, Cameron Espitia and his wife, Jennifer, became embroiled in a heated argument. The angry couple was traveling home in an Uber cab when Cameron – armed with a pistol – shot and killed Jennifer.
According to the Uber driver, Jennifer Espitia was sitting in the front passenger seat of the Uber vehicle, while Cameron chose to sit at the back of the car. The Uber driver alleges that Cameron had been verbally abusing his wife when a loud bang was heard.
At first, the Uber driver thought it might have been a tire that had blown out, but when he looked towards the passenger seat, he noticed that Jennifer was slumped over. It became evident that she had been shot in the head.
Immediately, the Uber driver was concerned for his life but was ordered by Mr. Espitia to continue driving. After traveling some distance, the Uber driver was told to stop the car while Mr. Espitia exited the vehicle and disappeared into surrounding bushes.
The Uber driver urgently called the police.
When authorities arrived at the scene, Jennifer Espitia was rushed to the Harborview Medical Center, where she later died from a fatal head injury.
Police were able to apprehend Cameron Espitia following a sweep of the undergrowth in the surrounding area. Once Mr. Espitia was in police custody, he told officers that he had been drinking with his wife when the situation turned hostile.
At first, Mr. Espitia claimed that he had no memory of the events leading up to the shooting of his wife but later conceded to remembering the Uber vehicle and driver.
A small pistol and an ankle holster were found in Espitia’s possession.
According to the Seattle Times, 31-year-old Cameron Espitia is being held in the King County jail on $3 million bail, while the authorities consider whether they will pursue homicide charges for the murder of 29-year-old Jennifer Espitia.
During the bail hearing, David Glindmeyer, a Seattle prosecutor, informed King County District Court Judge Mark Chow that he had received a troubling email from the local medical examiner’s office that referred to the killing as an execution.
As revealed in court records released after the bail hearing, Cameron Espitia was working for the Washington State U.S. Coast Guard.
A colleague of Mr. Espitia at the coast guard, Elliot Felix, told Judge Chow that he had been employed with the accused for over five years and was not convinced that Cameron was capable of such a crime.
“I would not in a million years think he would do something like this.”
Acting as a defense attorney for Mr. Espitia, Kristen Gestaut argued that Cameron does not have a criminal history and was not a flight risk due to his strong ties to the local coast guard community.
According to neighbors living near the Espitia home in Hillman City, the couple was reclusive and had very little interaction with community members.
Jennifer Espitia was a graduate of Mercer Island High School and was part of the Saint Mary’s College rowing team in California. Ms. Espitia was awarded a community service honor for her efforts as a peer educator at a local Planned Parenthood center.
More recently, Ms. Espitia had been working as an employee benefits official at the Marsh & McLennan Agency risk-prevention insurance firm.
Cameron Espitia will next appear in court on Thursday.
[Featured Image by Adam Berry/Getty Images]