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Suspect wanted for killing wife found dead

Wednesday - 3/14/2012, 6:46am  ET

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Philip Joseph Gilberti, 51, was wanted for shooting his wife and then shoving her out of a car. (Courtesy Montgomery County Police Department)

Estranged wife was afraid of Gilberti

WTOP's Neal Augenstein reports

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KENSINGTON, Md. - The man suspected of shooting his estranged wife in the head and pushing her out of a minivan is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, officials say. He was wanted for first-degree murder.

Authorities found the body of Philip Joseph Gilberti at a residence near Montgomery College Tuesday night after a day-long manhunt. They had set up a perimeter around the Rockville home and deployed SWAT team members and negotiators to the scene.

"We attempted to make contact with the suspect," says Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger.

"Receiving no response, we were then able to make visual contact with Mr. Gilberti, who appeared to be laying in the hallway."

Police say Gilbert shot Heather Lynn McGuire, them dumped her body near the intersection of Connecticut Avenue at Knowles Avenue. She was a passenger in a green or gray minivan traveling southbound, officials say.

Detectives tracked down Gilberti after more than 12 hours at the home of an acquaintance on Fordham Street, near Montgomery College in Rockville.

"We had probably over 100 police officers at different locations, watching vehicles and homes. And every one of them knew how dangerous this man was," says Manger.

Court records show McGuire had recently begun divorce proceedings against Gilberti, who was arrested Saturday for violating a protective order against her and was released two days later. McGuire reportedly said Gilberti's threats and intimidation were escalating, so much so that her children were afraid he would kill her.

On Tuesday, witnesses tell police they saw a commotion in the vehicle before McGuire was pushed out.

"One witness described seeing the woman trying to get out of the van, the man pulling her back, shooting her and then pushing her out into the roadway," says Manger.

According to court documents, Gilberti, 51, had also been the subject of several protective orders over the years filed by McGuire and other women.

Gilberti pleaded guilty to harassing McGuire two years ago.

He was a former professional boxer with a long rap sheet, including arrests for robbery, theft, reckless endangerment and battery.

Gilberti served 10 years in prison, following a plea in an attempted murder case, according to ABC7.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)