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Published: Saturday, 11/12/2005

Woman slain at work; shooter later kills self

BUCYRUS, Ohio A Crestline, Ohio, woman was shot to death on Thursday in the restaurant where she worked, and the man who allegedly killed her later fatally shot himself as he fled from police near Cleveland, authorities said.

Shortly before 2 p.m. at Al Smith s restaurant in Bucyrus, Ronnie Loftis, 26, of Crestline, walked in and talked with Beth Betti, 35, also of Crestline. He then shot her three times, the Crawford County Sheriff s Office said. When deputies arrived 90 seconds later, Mr. Loftis had driven away in a silver Nissan.

About two hours later, police in Aurora, Ohio, received a call from a resident who said her neighbor had called and asked her to make sure the car of her nephew, Mr. Loftis, was not in her driveway. When the resident spotted the car, she called police.

Officers went to the area at about 4 p.m. A half-hour later, a man ran from the house, got into the Nissan, and drove away. A short, slow-speed chase ensued, police said, ending when the Nissan slowed, struck a mailbox post, and stopped. Officers found that Mr. Loftis had shot himself in the head.

Ms. Betti and Mr. Loftis had been dating on and off, according to authorities, who have not released a motive for the killing.

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