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DEA Agent Is Charged in Slaying

The man accused of killing his ex-girlfriend and wounding her sister in Fullerton continues to elude police. He was on leave from the drug agency.

October 30, 1999|BONNIE HARRIS and LOUISE ROUG | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A federal drug agent remained at large Friday as authorities stepped up their search and prosecutors filed a murder charge against him in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend in Fullerton.

Tony Gerard Bailey, 35, has not been seen since late Wednesday, when witnesses and police said he shot and killed Veda Harris and wounded her sister, Wendy Campbell, in a jealous rage.

Bailey, a 10-year agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, has been on paid administrative leave since 1997, when he was charged with felony child abuse for allegedly shaking his infant daughter so violently that she suffered severe brain damage, officials said. A judge dropped the charges a year later.

Fullerton police said finding Bailey may prove difficult because of his law enforcement background.

"Obviously, he knows the procedures and protocols of law enforcement," said Sgt. Joe Klein, noting that those in the nationwide search include Bailey's former DEA colleagues. "We know that he's armed, and we're going to do everything we can to find him, regardless of his background or who he is."

A spokeswoman for the Orange County district attorney's office said Friday that charges have been filed against Bailey accusing him of murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison, spokeswoman Tori Richards said. She also confirmed that an arrest warrant has been issued.

DEA officials have said that Bailey remained on paid leave even after his acquittal in the shaken-baby case two years ago because he was under investigation "for other serious violations of DEA policy." Since then, Bailey has not had access to his duty weapon, DEA credentials or authority to act as a federal agent, DEA spokesman Lance Williams said.

Police think the murder weapon in Wednesday's incident was a 9mm handgun and not his DEA-issued weapon, Williams said. It was unclear whether it was the same handgun confiscated--and later returned to Bailey--by Anaheim police during the child abuse investigation.

"It could very well be, we don't know," Klein said. "We don't know how many guns he had, but we do know he had one."

Harris' friends and relatives said Friday that when Harris moved out of the couple's Anaheim home three weeks ago after a particularly heated argument, they encouraged her to seek a restraining order against Bailey. She filled out a police report instead and moved to her sister's Fullerton home, where Wednesday's attack occurred.

"I just can't believe there were all these warning signs and nobody could do anything," said James Fife, who is Wendy Campbell's fiance and said he was at her home when Bailey burst in and started shooting.

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