The man wanted in connection to a fatal shooting on Thursday in Lowell, Massachusetts, has been found dead in the trunk of a car, according to police.
Lowell police had described 51-year-old Ross Elliott as "armed, dangerous and increasingly desperate" at a press conference on Friday morning, noting that he had been on the run for more than 24 hours.
He was found dead in Chelmsford in the trunk of a car parked at a medical facility shortly around 1:45 p.m. Friday after the vehicle's owner told police she noticed a hand sticking out of the trunk.
"It is certainly a startling discovery," Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.
She said preliminary investigation shows that Elliott died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The woman who owns the car lives in the Highlands section of Lowell, where more than 100 police had converged to search for Elliott on Thursday night. She had driven to Chelmsford on Friday for a doctor's appointment.
Ryan said they don't know when Elliott got into the trunk. The car owner's next door neighbor believes Elliott hid under her deck overnight. She also thinks he went into a garage and hid in the trunk, but she did not hear any gunshots.
Elliott had last been seen around 4:30 p.m. Thursday by an off-duty firefighter at the intersection of Pine and Stevens streets. He allegedly showed a gun and ran off.
The victim of Thursday's shooting was identified as 44-year-old Nicole White. Elliott is accused of fatally shooting her in the head at an apartment on Stevens Street around 7:30 a.m.
White was shot in front of other family members, including her young daughter. The child was not hurt and police said she is safe.
"All I can say is Nicole was an amazing, kind, funny, loving woman," White's cousin, Lisa Barry, said. "She was just a wonderful woman who loved life and loved making others smile and laugh."
Authorities said White and Elliott knew each other and had previously been in a domestic relationship.
According to court documents, Elliott had been arrested several times, including in February 2005, when he was charged with armed assault to murder after he allegedly held a five-inch knife to his girlfriend's neck. He was also charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon in December of 2005.
"This is unfortunately another tragic example of the loss of life in domestic situations," Ryan said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the children of this family as we head into this Mother's Day weekend."
Police and SWAT teams searched Lowell all day on Thursday and into Friday morning, but were unable to locate Elliott. Police officers were stationed at local schools on Friday as a precaution.
Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor said he was proud of the efforts of his department, Massachusetts State Police and other area departments that assisted in the search.
"It worked exactly as we hoped it would," he said. "We were able to contain the individual in a very tight geographic area. The search had the desired effect to contain him and shorten the duration of the search, and, most importantly, did not lead to additional people being victimized. Unfortunately, one additional life was lost."
"This has been a very stressful period of time, both for the residents and for the families touched by the loss," Ryan added. "We are fortunate that the situation has come to an end."