Police identify 1992 cold case suspect fatally shot during US Marshals operation in VB

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Police have identified an armed fugitive who was killed during a U.S. Marshals Task Force operation Wednesday.

Police have identified the man as 51-year-old Hans Alejandro Huitz of Virginia Beach.

He was wanted in connection with a 1992 homicide in Montgomery County, Maryland, police said.

Authorities say a law enforcement officer not affiliated with the Virginia Beach Police Department fatally shot Huitz Wednesday morning in the Ocean Lakes area of the city.

The out-of-state officers, part of a U.S. Marshals Task Force operation and assisting cold case detectives, were trying to make an arrest around 6:30 a.m. in the 900 block of Maitland Drive when they say Huitz pulled out a handgun.

Virginia Beach Police said the Montgomery County Police officers in the operation confronted Huitz while he was in his vehicle. They were negotiating his surrender when he showed the weapon, police said.

Officers fired at the man and he was later pronounced dead at the scene. No officers were injured during the incident.

The officer who shot the Huitz is a detective with the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland, the Montgomery police department confirmed.

Montgomery Police confirmed the detectives involved in the shooting would be placed on administrative leave, which is standard protocol for officer-involved shooting investigations.

Bill Lipps, a man who lives across the street, caught the entire encounter on his phone. He said this not how he expected to start his day.

James Essel, 1992 homicide victim (Photo courtesy: Montgomery County Police)

“Scared — I thought there was going to be possibly return fire. I thought shots would be coming my way, so I ran,” said Lipps.

Lipps says he gave the video to police to help with their investigation into what happened.

Maitland Drive was closed for several hours for the investigation.

Police in Maryland believe Huitz killed 57-year-old James Essel at Sugarloaf Mountain Market in Comus, Maryland.

A customer came into the store around 6 p.m. March 22, 1992 and found Essel on the floor with a large amount of blood around him.

The customer called 911.

It was later discovered Essel was the owner of the store and the only person working at the time of the homicide.

An autopsy revealed Essel was stabbed 29 times.

In 2017, detectives gathered additional information about the suspect using DNA analysis.

Sugarloaf Mountain Market (Photo courtesy: Montgomery County Police)

At the end of January this year, authorities identified Huitz as a suspect.

On Tuesday, detectives used a warrant to get a buccal swab from Huitz. He provided the sample, which was tested and connected him to the murder.

On Wednesday, detectives attached to a U.S. Marshals Task Force attempted to arrest Huitz in Virginia on charges of first-degree murder, felony murder, and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

NOTE: The following viewer-submitted video contains profanity.

Composite created by detectives to show the suspect in a 1992 unsolved homicide in Maryland (Photo courtesy: Montgomery County Police in Maryland)

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