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Appomattox Shooting Suspect Turns Himself In

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Christopher Speight Christopher Speight

The suspect in the Appomattox shootings turned himself in to Virginia State Police around 7 a.m. Wednesday morning.  The violence began shortly after noon Tuesday when an injured man was found on a rural stretch of road. When police responded, they were fired upon, including a State Police helicopter that had to land with a ruptured fuel tank. The officers were not injured.

The suspect has been identified as 39-year-old Christopher Speight. It is not yet known what caused the incident. Speight was wearing a bullet proof vest when he turned himself in to the SWAT team Wednesday morning and is said to be "very cooperative."

Police report seven victims were discovered at one home, three inside and four outside the house. An eighth victim was found on the road outside the home on Snapps Mill Road and died after being flown to Lynchburg General Hospital Tuesday afternoon. Investigators are still searching for a high powered rifle in woods. State Police say they've found a "multitude" of explosive devices at the house and property.

The State Police have identified the victims as 16-year-old Ronald I. Scruggs II of Dillwyn; 15-year-old Emily A. Quarles of Appomattox; 43-year-old Karen Quarles of Appomattox; 43-year-old Jonathan L. Quarles of Appomattox; 38-year-old Dwayne S. Sipe of Appomattox; 38-year-old Lauralee Sipe of Appomattox; 4-year-old Joshua Sipe of Appomattox; and 15-year-old Morgan L. Dobyns of Appomattox.

The Virginia State Police report Speight was acquainted with the victims, and was co-owner and had lived in the residence where the murders took place.

Virginia State Police Spokesperson Corinne Geller says the Appomattox shootings are one of the worst mass killings in Virginia history.

The crime spree's victims were remembered with a moment of silence Wednesday at the House of Delegates. 

65th District Delegate Lee Ware (R)  said, "We do so in mournful memory of the eight citizens who lost their lives in Appomattox County in a terrible shooting incident yesterday." 

The House adjourned in memory of those victims and in honor of the law enforcement officers working the case.

Speight surrendered to police around 7:10 a.m. Wednesday. He is being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Lynchburg with no bond.  Police have charged Speight with one count of first-degree murder involving the deaths of eight individuals. Further charges are pending.

Police have not yet established a motive for the killings.

Reported By NBC29 HD News


Virginia State Police Press Release:

News Release No. 6

For Immediate Release: January 20, 2010

 

VICTIMS IDENTIFIED IN MASS MURDER IN APPOMATTOX COUNTY

Suspect Charged With First Degree Murder

APPOMATTOX, Va. – Law enforcement officials have charged Christopher B. Speight, 39, of Appomattox, Va., with one count of First Degree Murder involving the deaths of eight individuals. Speight was taken into custody at 7:10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2010) after surrendering to SWAT Team members. Further charges are pending against Speight.

The Mass Casualty Team with the Office of the State Medical Examiner and special agents with the Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation began processing the crime scene in the 3000 block of Snapps Mill Road/Route703 early this morning. Identifications of the victims have been confirmed and next of kin have been notified. The following eight victims have been identified as:

  • Ronald I. Scruggs II, 16, of Dillwyn, Va.
  • Emily A. Quarles, 15, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Karen Quarles, 43, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Jonathan L. Quarles, 43, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Dwayne S. Sipe, 38, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Lauralee Sipe, 38, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Joshua Sipe, 4, of Appomattox, Va.
  • Morgan L. Dobyns, 15, of Appomattox, Va.

All of the victims were transported to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke where cause of death will be determined.

Speight was acquainted with the victims and he had lived at the residence where the murders took place. He co-owns the residence and owns land adjacent to the residence.

Speight is being held in the Blue Ridge Regional Jail in Lynchburg with no bond. No arraignment date has been set. Speight's motives remain under investigation.

State and local law enforcement are securing the area through the night and crime scene technicians will be back at the scene tomorrow for further processing.

Law Enforcement Canvassing Appomattox County Murder Scene For Evidence And Victim Recovery: Charges Pending Against Appomattox County Male

APPOMATTOX, Va. – Charges are pending against an Appomattox County man being investigated for the deaths of eight individuals. Christopher B. Speight, 39, of Appomattox, Va., was taken into custody at approximately 7:10 a.m. Wednesday (Jan. 20, 2010) after surrendering to SWAT Team members assigned to the security perimeter. Speight is cooperating with investigators.

Speight remained confined within the established law-enforcement security perimeter the entire time of the search operation. He managed to conceal himself overnight in the wooded area and then turned himself in to authorities at daybreak. At the time of surrender, Speight was wearing a bulletproof vest and did not have a weapon in his possession.

Virginia State Police crime scene technicians are currently processing the scene in the 3000 block of Snapps Mill Road/Route 703, as well as the wooded area within the secured perimeter. Bomb technicians and explosives-detection canines are also on scene to detect and render safe any potential incendiary devices. Based on information gleaned during the course of the investigation, there is a probability of explosive devices being found outside and inside the residence.

The Office of the State Medical Examiner has dispatched it Mass Casualty Team out of Roanoke to assist with victim recovery and identification, examination and cause of death. Once identifications of the victims are confirmed, their next of kin will be notified.

Speight's motives remain under investigation. Charges are pending. The Appomattox Sheriff's Office has consulted with the Office of the Appomattox County Commonwealth's Attorney.

Speight was acquainted with the victims and he had lived at the residence where the murders took place. He co-owns the residence, as well as owns land adjacent to the residence.

More than 150 personnel from the Appomattox County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, Campbell County Sheriff's Office, Charlotte County Sheriff's Office, Prince Edward County Sheriff's Office, Farmville Police, Lynchburg Police Department, Bedford County Sheriff's Office, Amherst County Sheriff's Office, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries Conservation Police, Virginia National Guard, Holliday Lake State Park Rangers, and ATF were involved in the search and recovery of the suspect.