Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrenders after 8 killed in central Va. shootings/ charged with first degree murder

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Normal Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrenders after 8 killed in central Va. shootings/ charged with first degree murder

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 19, 2010 8:19 pm

AP source: 8 killed in central Va. shootings

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press Writer. Larry O'dell, Associated Press Writer. – 9 mins ago

APPOMATTOX, Va. – A law enforcement official familiar with the investigation tells The Associated Press that eight people have been killed in shootings in central Virginia.

The official asked for anonymity because the person was not authorized to speak about the investigation.

State police say there were multiple deaths and injuries Tuesday and that a lone shooter was responsible. They say more than 100 law enforcement officials had the suspect circled in woods where they believe he is hiding.

Police could not say what sparked the violence.

State police say the gunman also fired at a state police helicopter, which had to land with a ruptured fuel tank after one or more rounds struck it.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

APPOMATTOX, Va. (AP) — A lone shooter was responsible for multiple deaths and injuries Tuesday and more than 100 law enforcement officials had him circled in woods where they believe he is hiding, state police said.

Police did not release the exact number of dead and injured and could not say what sparked the violence.

The gunman also fired at a sheriff's deputy and a state police helicopter, which had to land with a ruptured fuel tank after one or more rounds struck it, said police spokeswoman Corrine Geller, said. No police were injured.

"We believe we have the male suspect confined in a wooded area," Geller said.

The violence began shortly after noon when an injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, Geller said.

"When the deputy arrived on the scene, that's when he heard several shots," State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said.

He said there were "several fatalities and one injury." Police were still trying to determine the suspect's relationship with the victims.

Residents near the shooting scene were told to remain inside and a small Christian school was locked down until state police could escort about 60 children from the building.

Resident Bethel Hawkins said police warned families to remain inside with their doors locked. She said many homeowners in the area are senior citizens.

"We're just being cautious, keeping our doors locked, not going outside," said Hawkins, who lives about 2 miles up the road from where the shootings occurred. "Our church service is supposed to be tonight, but we talked with our pastor and told him we're not coming out. We're not going out in the dark not knowing what's out there. But we trust in the Lord to take care of us."

The governor's office said it was sending Secretary of Public Safety Marla Decker to the scene.

Appomattox is in a county of about 15,000 approximately 100 miles southwest of Richmond. It is best known as the place where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

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Normal Re: Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrenders after 8 killed in central Va. shootings/ charged with first degree murder

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:01 pm

Police source: 8 people killed in Va. shooting
Slayings believed to involve a lone gunman just outside Appomattox

updated 2 minutes ago

APPOMATTOX, Va. - A lone shooter killed eight people Tuesday in central Virginia, a law enforcement official told The Associated Press, and police circled a wooded area where they believed the suspect was hiding.

State police said there were also multiple injuries, all the work of a single shooter, but they could not say what prompted the burst of violence. The official who gave the number of dead asked for anonymity because that person was not authorized to speak about the investigation.

The drama paralyzed the rural area as police swarmed forests trying to flush out the suspect who, at one point in the manhunt, fired at a state police helicopter, forcing it to land with a ruptured fuel tank. No police were injured after one or more rounds struck the helicopter.
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Canine units and a National Guard helicopter with thermal imaging equipment were being used to search the woods late Tuesday.

"They are searching the area and will continue until the suspect is apprehended," State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said.

The violence began shortly after noon when an injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, said police spokeswoman Corrine Geller.

"When the deputy arrived on the scene, that's when he heard several shots," Molnar said.

He said there were "several fatalities and one injury." Police were still trying to determine the suspect's relationship with the victims.

Residents near the shooting scene were told to remain inside and a small Christian school was locked down until state police could escort about 60 children from the building.

Resident Bethel Hawkins said police warned families to remain inside with their doors locked. She said many homeowners in the area are senior citizens.

"We're just being cautious, keeping our doors locked, not going outside," said Hawkins, who lives about 2 miles up the road from where the shootings occurred. "Our church service is supposed to be tonight, but we talked with our pastor and told him we're not coming out. We're not going out in the dark not knowing what's out there. But we trust in the Lord to take care of us."

Appomattox is in a county of about 15,000 approximately 100 miles southwest of Richmond. It is best known as the place where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

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Normal Christopher Speight, 39, Lone Gunman in Virginia Shootings

Post by Wrapitup on Tue Jan 19, 2010 11:32 pm

By LARRY O'DELL, Associated Press Writer. Larry O'dell, Associated Press Writer. – 15 mins ago



APPOMATTOX, Va. – Police with dogs and heat-sensing equipment hunted for a man they say shot eight people to death Tuesday and then nearly took down a police helicopter that was trying to flush him out of the woods near this central Virginia town.

State police said officers had the suspect, Christopher Speight, 39, circled in the woods late Tuesday near the home where seven of the bodies were found and they believed he was still alive. An eighth victim was found barely alive on the side of the road — which led to police being called — and died on the way to the hospital.

All the victims were adults and both men and women were killed, state police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said. Three of the bodies were found inside the home, and four just outside it, Molnar said.

Police refused to speculate on a motive and would not say what type of weapon was used. Molnar also gave no background on the suspect. Speight's last known address was along the block where the shootings occurred, but Molnar did not know if the suspect was still living there. He also would not say if all the victims were shot at the home.

The drama paralyzed the rural area as police swarmed forests trying to catch the suspect who fired at a state police helicopter, forcing it to land with a ruptured fuel tank, police said. No police were injured after one or more rounds struck the helicopter.

A National Guard helicopter with thermal imaging equipment were being used to search the woods.

"They are searching the area and will continue until the suspect is apprehended," Molnar said.

The violence began shortly after noon when the injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. A deputy who went to investigate fled after he heard gunshots, police spokeswoman Corrine Geller said.

"When the deputy arrived on the scene, that's when he heard several shots," Molnar said.

Police did not release the victims' names or the suspect's possible relationship to them.

A Google map search shows the area of the shootings was thick with trees, sometimes giving way to large clearings. Buildings were spread out. Molnar said police believe Speight was still within the perimeter they had set up to surround him, but would not say how large an area they were searching. Police said they are also looking for a car and a pickup truck that belong to Speight.

Authorities told nearby residents to stay inside and a small Christian school was locked down until state police could escort about 60 children from the building.

Resident Bethel Hawkins said police warned families to lock their doors in an area with many senior citizens.

"We're just being cautious, keeping our doors locked, not going outside," said Hawkins, who lives about 2 miles up the road from where the shootings occurred. "Our church service is supposed to be tonight, but we talked with our pastor and told him we're not coming out. We're not going out in the dark not knowing what's out there. But we trust in the Lord to take care of us."

Appomattox is in a county of about 15,000 approximately 100 miles southwest of Richmond. It is best known as the place where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

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Normal Re: Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrenders after 8 killed in central Va. shootings/ charged with first degree murder

Post by Nama on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:46 pm

After an all day, all night manhunt, Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrendered to police in Appomattox, Va., following an alleged shooting spree yesterday, January 19, 2010. The shooting rampage left 8 dead in this beautiful, rural area of Virginia.

This travesty started about noon yesterday, January 19, 2010.

What we know:
Around lunchtime yesterday, Deputies responded to an emergency call of an injured man in the road. They heard several gunshots and called in more police. They later found 7 adults, men and women, shot dead in and outside a home co-owned by Christopher Speight. The victims were all acquainted with Speight, but it’s unknown in what capacity. The injured man in the road died en route to the hospital. The names of the deceased have yet to be released.

The shooter then ran into a nearby densely wooded area and hid from police. He was immediately surrounded by approximately 100 police officers. Helicopters and dogs were brought in, and one helicopter was forced to land after bullets punctured its fuel tank. No one was injured in that incident.

Sheriff O. Wilson Staples said that Christopher Speight had no weapons on him but was wearing a bullet proof vest, camouflage pants and a black sweat shirt when he surrendered at 7:10am today. He was taken to Appomattox Regional Jail and is awaiting charges.
Speight also possesses a concealed weapons permit, which has bean renewed three times since 1999.

Currently, bomb teams are searching the area for explosive devices they believe may have been planted before the shooting rampage.

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Normal Re: Christopher Bryan Speight, 39, surrenders after 8 killed in central Va. shootings/ charged with first degree murder

Post by Nama on Wed Jan 20, 2010 12:49 pm

Christopher Speight has some kind of relationship with the victims. The violence may have occurred due to an argument amongst family members. The police have not released specific information yet pending notification of the families of the victims.

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Normal Explosives found at home of suspected Va. gunman

Post by Wrapitup on Wed Jan 20, 2010 7:38 pm

By VICKI SMITH and DENA POTTER, Associated Press Writers Vicki Smith And Dena Potter, Associated Press Writers – 8 mins ago

APPOMATTOX, Va. – A bomb squad discovered a multitude of explosives Wednesday at the home of a man accused of shooting eight people to death, and crews were detonating the devices as more details about the suspected gunman came to light.

Christopher Bryan Speight, a 39-year-old security guard, surrendered to police at daybreak Wednesday after leading authorities on an 18-hour manhunt following the slayings at a house in rural central Virginia where deputies found a mortally wounded man and seven bodies.

As of Wednesday afternoon, bomb squads had detonated seven explosives. The blasting was expected to continue into Thursday.

Speight had no weapons when he surrendered at the house. He was wearing a bulletproof vest over a black fleece jacket, camouflage pants and mud-caked boots. Neither the sheriff nor a state police spokeswoman would disclose what Speight said when he gave up.

Authorities remained tightlipped on most details surrounding the slayings, including any possible motive. Nor did they immediately identify any of the victims or their relationship to the suspect. Investigators would say only that he knew his victims.

Speight was being held on one charge of first-degree murder Wednesday night, said Lt. J.D. Baker of the Lynchburg Adult Detention Center.

Speight co-owned and lived in the home where some of the bodies were found. Reporters were allowed to see the home Wednesday. The two-story house had a big patio, where there was furniture, a children's bicycle and a plastic basketball hoop. The yard was landscaped and well-manicured.

Neighbor Monte W. Mays said Speight's mother deeded the house to Speight and his sister in 2006, shortly before she died of brain cancer.

Mays, the county's retired commissioner of accounts, said Speight was a good neighbor. They waved as they passed each other on the road and sent their dogs out to play with one another.

"All the dealings I've ever had with him have been cordial and polite," Mays said. "We got along fine."

Speight had long been a gun enthusiast and enjoyed target shooting at a range on his property, Mays said. But the shooting recently became a daily occurrence, with Speight firing what Mays said were high-powered rifles.

"Then we noticed he was doing it at nighttime," and the gunfire started going deeper into the woods, Mays said.

Mays said the entire community is devastated and wondering what triggered the slayings.

"The only one who's going to know now is Chris," he said.

David Anderson, co-owner of the Sunshine Market grocery store in Lynchburg, where Speight sometimes provided security, said Speight was worried that his sister and brother-in-law wanted to kick him out of the house.

Speight never wanted to talk about it, but he "constantly paced the floor," Anderson said. "I thought he was going to wear a trench in it."

Clarence Reynolds, who also works at the market, said he recently discussed a personal family problem with Speight, and Speight told him "don't let your emotions get the best of you."

Reynolds said Speight was not married and had no children.

Police were alerted to the bloodbath when they found the wounded man on the side of a road. Then sheriff's deputies discovered seven more bodies — three inside the house and four just outside.

When officers converged on the area, the suspected shooter fired at a state police helicopter, rupturing its gas tank and forcing it to land.

The shots revealed his location, and more than 100 police swarmed into the woods until Speight gave up the following morning.

Police said Speight appeared to have had weapons training, but there was no information suggesting he had served in the military.

Speight's uncle, Jack Giglio of Tampa, Fla., told The Associated Press that his nephew was a deer hunter, but as far as he knew Speight did not have any specialized weapons training. Giglio said he had not seen Speight since 2006, when both attended the funeral for Speight's mother.

"We're shocked, of course," Giglio said. "I'm not aware of any problems with him. It's kind of out of the blue. We're still trying to pick up facts, too."

Appomattox County court records show a concealed weapons permit was issued to a Christopher Bryan Speight three times between 1999 and last year.

The shootings were the talk of the lunch counter Wednesday at the local Citgo gas station. But owner Mark Drinkard did not recall ever seeing Speight.

Dakota Henderson, a junior at Appomattox High School, said he had met Speight a few times and had dinner with him, but found nothing odd about the man. "He's an all right guy," Henderson said.

Even after Speight surrendered, the anxiety persisted.

"You feel uneasy whenever you hear anything like that, whether it's in your backyard or 50 miles away," said bank executive Dawn Tolley, lunching at the Granny Bee's Restaurant.

The county's four schools remained closed for the day, the high school flag at half-staff. Administrators planned to bring in grief counselors. The school system posted a notice on its Web site late Wednesday announcing a two-hour delay Thursday morning so staff would have time to "prepare to talk with their students about the tragedy."

Superintendent Dorinda Grasty could not confirm whether any of her students were among the dead but said school officials "anticipate that there will be students from our division that were involved."

Sheriff O. Wilson Staples was out of the county notifying victims' relatives and was unavailable for comment.

Appomattox is known mainly for its history: This community 100 miles southwest of Richmond is where Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant to end the Civil War.

"This is a horrific tragedy," state police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said. "It's definitely one of the worst mass killings in Virginia, probably since the Virginia Tech tragedy."

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Last edited by Wrapitup on Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:47 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Normal Accused murderer Christopher Bryan Speight has retained two Roanoke-based attorneys to represent him in his first-degree murder charge.

Post by Nama on Wed Feb 10, 2010 7:23 pm

Accused murderer Christopher Bryan Speight has retained two Roanoke-based attorneys to represent him in his first-degree murder charge.

Neil Horn and Charles "CJ" Covati were retained last Wednesday as counsel for 39-year-old Speight, who is the sole suspect in his involvement of last week's shooting rampage that lead to eight deaths.

Both attorneys are former assistant prosecutors for the City of Roanoke.

Horn said that he signed paperwork filed with the Appomattox County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court last Wednesday to be one of Speight's attorneys.

The paperwork involved Speight's first-degree murder charge for the death of Speight's sister, Lauralee Sipe who lived with Speight at their Spout Spring residence on Snapps Mill Road.

Since Speight and Sipe lived in the same residence, the case was forwarded to Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court.

More charges against Speight are pending.

The preliminary hearing has been set for April 29 at 1:30 p.m.

Speight's hiring of counsel comes exactly one week after he surrendered to law enforcement officials after an 18-hour manhunt.

Last week's manhunt for Speight started after law enforcement officials discovered eight dead at Speight's residence at 3030 Snapps Mill Road.

Lauralee's husband, 38-year-old Dwayne Sipe, Speight's 15-year-old niece Morgan Dobyns and his 4-year-old nephew Joshua Sipe were among the seven other victims.

The other victims were Jonathan Quarles, 43, Karen Quarles, 43, Emily Quarles, 15, and Ronald "Bo" Scruggs, 16.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19 police officers were called to respond to Snapps Mill Road after a 911 call was made that there was a wounded man laying in the road.

When police got to the scene, more shots were fired and there was a subsequent manhunt.

Speight surrendered to police at around 7:10 a.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 20 after hiding in a wooded area near his residence.

Speight did not have any weapons when he gave himself up and he was wearing a bullet proof vest, a black fleece jacket, camouflage pants and mud-caked boots, according to law enforcement officials.

Speight is currently being held at Blue Ridge Regional Jail without bond.

If Speight is charged with more than one murder, the Commonwealth has the option of pursuing capital murder charges, which can carry a death penalty.

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