By Karen Brainard
Kevin James Collier, the 32-year-old man suspected of fatally shooting his baby daughter and mother-in-law, and wounding a police officer at a home in El Cajon, was a student at Ramona High School in the 1990s.
Police believe the bodies of Collier and his mother-in-law, Beverly Rakov, have been found in the burned remains of Rakov’s El Cajon home, but positive identification is pending the county medical examiner’s report.
Collier is pictured in the senior photo section of Ramona High School’s 1997 yearbook. He was also pictured as a sophomore in a 1994-95 yearbook. School records show he attended the school in 1993-94 and the following year. He was not listed in the 1995-96 yearbook but transcripts show he was at the school in 1996. According to the school registrar, records reveal he had 230 credits but there was no confirmation that he graduated from Ramona High.
“To the best of our knowledge I would say he was a 1997 graduate,” said Ramona High Principal Tony Newman.
“I know he was really big in the ag department there,” said RHS Class of 1997 graduate Cameron Stotz of Rancho Penasquitos.
On Sunday, Aug. 21, El Cajon police responded to a call at 1033 Prince St. around 5 p.m. According to a release from the El Cajon Police Department, the caller described a male walking into the home at that location with a gun and said he started a fire.
Officers Jarred Slocum and his partner, Officer Tim McFarland, arrived and were moving into positions when the suspect, identified as Kevin Collier, began shooting. One of the bullets struck Slocum in the head, the release states.
According to an Associated Press report Tuesday morning, Slocum was in critical but stable condition after undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to his forehead that fractured his skull.
The El Cajon SWAT team was sent to the scene but fire inside the house prevented immediate entry, the police report states. Fire personnel fought the fire, and helicopters dropped water on the house. After gaining entry, the SWAT team reportedly found a body in the front portion of the house and another body in the rear of the house.
Detectives also found the body of a small child in the back seat of a work truck used by Collier, according to the police. The child appeared to have suffered from a gunshot wound to the head and is believed to be Collier’s 14-month-old daughter, Rhilee.
Investigators have learned that Collier sent text messages to friends saying he had shot his daughter and his mother-in-law and started her house on fire, the police department has stated.
According to reports, Collier is the son of Juanita Ward of Ramona, who owns Juanita Ward Bookkeeping and Tax Service on 12th Street. A sign on the door says the business is closed due to a family emergency.
JC Playford of Ramona contributed to this report.