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‘Suicidal’ man in I-95 standoff was person of interest in 2015 disappearance

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- David Louis Rios, the man at the center of Wednesday's standoff that shut down I-95, was a "person of interest" in the case of a missing Richmond mother in 2015.

The body of Katasha Johnson was found in garbage bags at a Fulton construction site. She was Rios’ girlfriend at the time. Her death remains an unsolved mystery; her autopsy came back as undetermined with drugs in her system.

"Please if you know something, I’m begging you to come forward because this is a tragedy, to my family and her kids," said her mother, Karen Johnson, in 2015.

Five days after her disappearance, Rios was arrested on unrelated charges of simple assault, but he was never charged with Johnson's death.

Katasha Johnson (PHOTO: Richmond Police)

It’s almost three years later, and Johnson’s plea is still unanswered. Whoever put her daughter Katasha in those trash bags has never been brought to justice.

Then on Wednesday, Rios was in the news again, identified as a suicidal man holding a gun to his head on the side of Interstate 95. The busy highway was shut down for two-and-a-half hours while police tried for a peaceful resolution.

"He didn't want to go back to jail,” his current girlfriend Lynne Gordon said Thursday. “In his head, I don't think he was thinking about that, I don't think he really realized the repercussions of running from the police in a vehicle.”

David Louis Rios

Police say Rios shot himself, and Crime Insider sources say the bullet ripped into his chest.

"He's still unconscious,” said Gordon, who has dated Rios for two years. “They are keeping him sedated. We really don't know what will happen."

Gordon says many may see Rios only as the source of Wednesday’s chaos, but she says she loves him. She says he's a great provider and father figure to her little girl.

"He made his own choices and his own decisions, but he never set out to be a bad guy," she said.

Gordon says she's convinced her boyfriend ran from the law to avoid more jail time. So, when Henrico officers approached him near Aberdeen Road and Parham for smoking weed, he made a run for it, ultimately crashing off I-95 south near the Belvidere exit.

David Rios and Lynne Gordon

Gordon says she was on the phone with him the whole time.

She said the Intense, surreal moments took her back to the day they first met.

"When David and I met, he was starting over, and so was I. I had gotten out of an abusive relationship,” Gordon said. “He was dealing with a traumatic loss."

Gordon is hoping she won't have to deal with a similar traumatic loss.

CBS 6 reached out to Katasha Johnson’s family Thursday. They weren't aware of Rios' involvement in Wednesday’s events, but says hearing his name brings up pains of the past.

Rios remains in critical condition at VCU Medical Center.