Accused murderer committed suicide after chase, standoff

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland
By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. -- The man who shot and killed his girlfriend in Tempe earlier this week committed suicide after a high-speed chase and standoff in Pinal County Friday morning.

John Brazel had been on the run since Tuesday.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu said Brazel led several law-enforcement agencies on a chase that ended in a standoff near the Pinal County Fairgrounds. It was during that standoff that Brazel shot himself in the head. Babeu confirmed that Brazel died of his injury.

Police in Marana, which is north of Tucson, first spotted Brazel shortly before 1:30 a.m. That's when the chase started, hitting speeds of 110 mph.

Babeu said officers lost Brazel at one point, but picked him up again when security guard at the SRP power plant spotted a suspicious vehicle and called 911. They said a man was on the phone.

The 911 dispatchers made the connection to search for Brazel and immediately alerted the deputies in the field.

"Our deputies responded within a very short period of time, made contact," Babeu told 3TV's Tess Rafols. "He disobeyed our verbal commands and that's when he shot himself in the head."

Babeu said the security guards did the right thing by not engaging Brazel. Police had said all along that they considered him armed and dangerous.

"We were able to make sure nobody else was injured," Babeu said.

Investigators are trying to piece together his movements over the past couple of days.

Police believe Brazel, 33, killed Charla Faust after a domestic violence struggle at her Tempe home Tuesday afternoon. According to investigators, Brazel shot Faust several times. He also allegedly wounded a neighbor who tried to intervene and help Faust. That neighbor is expected to recover.

Police launched a search for Brazel. They found his abandoned vehicle Wednesday evening in the orange groves at Thomas Road and Val Vista Drive in Mesa, police said.

Faust, mother of three kids younger than 11, had a restraining order against Brazel. Tempe police confirmed a history of domestic violence calls and reports.

“She was scared of him; that’s why she got the restraining order. She was afraid for her kids,” Danni Faust, the victim's sister, told 3TV.

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