Woman dies after shooting at workplace – Estranged boyfriend sought; he has domestic-abuse history — (Star Tribune)

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Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities 

February 15, 1996

Author: David Chanen; Staff Writer

Police were searching Wednesday night for a man who is suspected of killing his estranged girlfriend at a business in northeast Minneapolis.  Police issued an all-points bulletin for Louis Cardona Buggs, 23. He is accused of finding Kami Talley, 22, in a second-story restroom at Electric Wire Products Corp. at about 9:20 a.m., shooting her several times and fleeing, police said. Talley was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, where she died about 11 a.m.

About five hours after the shooting, Buggs was spotted in a car at the Minneapolis house of one of Talley’s relatives. Sgt. Mike Green said it’s possible that Buggs, who is considered armed and dangerous, was planning to harm the relative or other family members. Protection was being provided for Talley’s family Wednesday night, he said.    “Did he pick Valentine’s Day in particular to kill her? I don’t know his state of mind at the time of the shooting,” Green said. “I’m not saying it was the motive, but it might have been a case of, `If I can’t have her, nobody can.’ ”

Green said that Buggs’ record includes recent charges of domestic assault and that he had made specific threats against the victim and members of her family. He recently was released from jail, but he was wanted on an outstanding arrest warrant for violating a restraining order issued to protect his estranged girlfriend.   “I have a hunch he’s still around the city,” Green said. “Other police departments have been notified about him.”  Kami’s father, Maurice Talley, said he was angered by a system that would let his daughter die and not allow him to protect her. He said Buggs previously had threatened Kami Talley’s mother, Deborah Woods (who is Talley’s ex-wife), because she helped keep him in jail after he abused Kami.

“I could have dealt with him myself, but the police told me to let them handle it,” he said. “Maybe if we had a million police officers it would help. I will protect my other three children, though.”   Maurice said his daughter was planning to graduate from the University of Minnesota this year with a bachelor’s degree in child education.

“She had straight A’s last quarter,” he said. “She didn’t drink or smoke. She was an intelligent and wonderful girl.”   Kami had dropped off her preschool-age daughter at a university-run day care center Wednesday morning. After the shooting, university officials, concerned that the suspect might come to the center, asked parents to pick up their children immediately.

Police monitored the area as parents came and went. The victim’s daughter was in protective custody, the memo said.    Jean Vescio, a family friend, said Kami made her daughter the top priority in her life. She said Kami and Louis, who went by the nickname Butch, had been dating since they were 16. They became parents when she was 18.

“This is a sad situation,” she said. “I didn’t care for Butch’s personality, but she seemed to keep the relationship together.”   Maurice Talley described Buggs as a “young, silly guy” when he first met him. During an interview Wednesday night, he called his daughter’s accused killer a “primal tramp.”   “He tried to undermine her. He didn’t want her to go to school. He ruined her credit and used the house that she built herself,” he said. “I told her she was light years ahead of him academically.”

He said Buggs liked to lift weights and worked as a plumber, but had trouble holding a steady job. He believes that Buggs was taking Prozac, an antidepression medication, and steroids.

Maurice Talley said Kami was “a conflict avoider,” but about a year ago she decided to end the abusive relationship. She went to live with grandmother Rose Napue, but not before Buggs beat her up one last time, Talley said.   “He beat her up so bad I couldn’t look at her,” he said. “After that I gave her a pistol for protection, but I knew the handwriting was on the wall.”

The shooting upset many of the 130 employees at Electric Wire Products who were evacuated from the company’s old warehouse building at 130 NE. 2nd St. while police searched it. Kami Talley had worked there for about three years, her father said. Officers from the canine unit searched the building’s two stories and basement, but didn’t find a suspect. Employees were detained at the factory for a few hours.

“At that point we didn’t know who was a witness, who was a suspect,” said Sgt. Gail Cronquist, who helped secure the area after the shooting.    Workers kept warm in buses run by Metropolitan Council Transit Operations at the scene, and police used interpreters to speak to employees, many of whom are Southeast Asian. Employees were sent home before investigators finished examining the scene by midafternoon.

Officers searched Buggs’ house Wednesday afternoon but found nobody there, Cronquist said. Buggs is described as a black man, 5 feet 8 and about 180 pounds. Police think he is driving a blue or brown 1983 Cadillac with the license plate 115 GEY. Anybody who has seen Buggs can call the Minneapolis Police Department at 348-2345.

– Staff Writers Maria Elena Baca and Anne O’Connor contributed to this report.

Record Number: 751608
Copyright (c) 1996, 2001 Star Tribune: Newspaper of the Twin Cities