In what police call a murder-suicide, a Gilbert man killed himself outside Riverbanks Zoo early Sunday morning after killing his girlfriend a short time before.
Jason Wayne Strickland, 32, shot Lisa Marie Bacon, 30, in the head with a handgun, police said. Both lived at 242 Hayride Road in Gilbert.
Then Strickland rolled Bacon’s body into a sheet, placed it in the back of his pickup truck and drove to the zoo parking lot, police said.
At that time, officers from the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department, Columbia Police Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department encountered Strickland in the zoo’s parking lot. Strickland abandoned his truck and ran to the edge of the Saluda River.
Officers were on the scene so quickly because a Lexington County sheriff’s deputy on I-20 had noted a vehicle driving erratically. The vehicle matched the description of a vehicle officers had been warned to watch for. The vehicle’s driver refused to stop and led the officer — and other pursuing police — to the zoo parking lot off I-126.
After Strickland ran from his truck, officers gave chase, yelling for him to stop.
“He ended up at the river and shot himself in the chest,” said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts.
Strickland died at the scene, he said. Officers then found Bacon’s body in the bed of the pickup truck that Strickland drove to the zoo.
Later Sunday, police obtained a search warrant for the home Strickland and Bacon shared. In a search, they found evidence they said shows that Bacon was killed in the home’s kitchen. They also found evidence in the home and the pickup that links Strickland to her killing, police said.
Both deaths, and the motive for the Bacon’s killing, remain under investigation, police said.