updated 2/20/2007 1:57:55 PM ET 2007-02-20T18:57:55

A man wanted in at least 18 killings in Kenya — including the deaths of a leading AIDS researcher and an American missionary — was shot dead on Tuesday after a police raid on his house.

Police surrounded the house and called on Simon Matheri Ikere to surrender; he was shot to death after he refused. The 30-year-old had been on the run for more than a year.

“Today was his day,” said Njue Njagi, the police commander in charge of the security in the capital.

Matheri was suspected of killing a prominent African AIDS researcher, Job Bwayo; Lois Anderson, a Presbyterian missionary, and her daughter Zelda White, the wife of a U.S. Embassy employee, in carjackings on the outskirts of Nairobi this year. Police said all were shot when they hesitated to leave their vehicles.

More than 200 armed police took place in the raid on Matheri’s house, according to a senior police officer who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. He was tracked down by police monitoring his mobile phone.

Police said Matheri was shot after emerging from the house with an AK-47 assault rifle and that officers recovered the rifle and ammunition.

Matheri’s seven-months pregnant wife, Felistus Wanjiru Matheri, said her husband did not have a gun when he left the house. “I pleaded with him for the sake our kids to give up,” she said. The wife, who is in police custody, said she did not know whether he had planned to do so.

Six of the couple’s children were inside at the time.

An unnamed accomplice of Matheri was also killed in the operation, on the outskirts of the capital.

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