BATON ROUGE – A Walker man who shot and killed his girlfriend before he took his own life after a multi-parish car chase Monday night had previously been arrested for violation of a restraining order, according to Livingston Parish Sheriff Jason Ard.
Ricardo Diaz, 43, had been arrested in the last month for violation of the restraining order which stemmed from domestic abuse against his girlfriend, Lydia Johnston, 31, with whom he fathered four children, Ard said in a press conference Tuesday at the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association office.
Diaz had been arrested March 4 for violation of protective orders. He had been released on $5,000 bond, according to records provided by the Livingston Parish Sheriff's Office.
“It is our understanding that Johnson had ended the relationship with Diaz,” he said. “She had moved on, but he apparently didn’t want to accept that reality.”
Deputies responded to the call related to a shooting incident just before 9 p.m. on the 27000 block of Gaylord Drive in Walker. They spotted Diaz fleeing from the scene after he fired four shots to various parts of Johnston’s body.
Johnston died from her wounds several hours later.
Officers from Walker Police Department assisted deputies in the chase, which headed to Interstate 12 into East Baton Rouge Parish and eventually to Interstate 10 and the Mississippi River Bridge in West Baton Rouge Parish, where he stopped his car and jumped.
Diaz landed on the levee, approximately 120 feet below, to his death, Ard said.
A Louisiana State Police vehicle was hit during the chase, but the trooper was not injured. Vehicles did not travel faster than 90 mph during the chase.
Seven children between the ages of 4 and 11 were present, along with an adult male, when the shooting occurred. None of them were injured, Ard said.
“My heart breaks for these children,” he said. “This is something they will have to live with the rest of their lives, all because of a troubled relationship.”
The children are in the custody of family.
The shooting remains under investigation, but Ard said it may be a slow process.
“There’s a lot to work out,” he said. “When kids witness something this horrible, it takes a lot of time to interview them.”
Law enforcement from East Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, West Baton Rouge Sheriff's Office, Port Allen City Police and Baton Rouge City Police also assisted, Ard said.