Kidnapping suspect who led police on multi-state chase died of suicide, autopsy says

Police have confirmed that the man who instigated a high-speed chase from Missouri to Illinois earlier this week committed suicide during his standoff with police.

According to autopsy results, Leslie K. Austin, 39, of Jefferson City, Missouri, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, a news release from Illinois State Police District 11 stated Friday.

On Tuesday night, Austin fled from police in St. Louis and into Southern Illinois during a chase that ended in Bond County. Austin was the suspect of a shooting that had happened in the 500 block of East Elm Street earlier that evening. Police say he then kidnapped a 33-year-old Jefferson City woman and her 10-year-old daughter, who were in the SUV he was driving.

During the chase, police deployed stop sticks on Illinois 140, forcing Austin’s car to slow and allowing an opportunity for the woman and the child to escape. According to the ISP release, the woman had multiple gunshot wounds and was transported to a hospital, where she remained Friday night in critical condition. The child was uninjured.

Austin attempted to carjack a vehicle during his chase, where he shot and killed the car’s driver, 67-year-old Gregory Price of Florissant, Missouri. Shortly after, he tried to carjack another vehicle to no avail. He continued fleeing police in the SUV until he exited the car on Old Nebo Road and shot at police, who returned fire.

Austin was found deceased at the scene, where he’d shot himself in the head.

Police did not comment on whether the incident was a domestic situation or not. According to the release, no more details were available Friday night.

Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.