Virginia State Police say eight people have been killed in an afternoon shooting and ongoing manhunt.
They have identified the lone suspect as 39-year old Christopher Speight, of Appomattox, which is located about 75 miles southwest of Richmond.
During a 10:00 p.m. news conference on Tuesday, State Police Sgt. Thomas Molnar said seven of the eight victims were Appomattox residents. He said police continue to use canine units and thermal imaging equipment to track the suspect who he said police believe was still within the perimeter they established in a wooded area.
Molnar said more than 100 law enforcement personnel had encircled the suspect by late afternoon in a wooded area in the town of Appomattox.
The shooting began just before 1 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. Molnar did not identify those killed or injured, but said three of the eight fatalities happened inside a residence and four were found dead outside the same home. An eighth victim died en route to Lynchburg General Hospital after being found wounded in the street. Molnar said the victims were both male and female.
Police are investigating whether the shootings may be domestic in nature. They consider Speight to be armed and dangerous.
Investigators are also trying to locate two vehicles that belong to Speight. One is a tan 1997 Ford Escort LX. The second vehicle is a green 1996 Ford F-150 pickup truck. Anyone with information pertaining to Speight or these vehicles is encouraged to call the Virginia State Police Appomattox Division at 434-352-3419 or the Appomattox County Sheriff's Office at 434-352-8251.
CBS 6's Jon Burkett tells us residents in homes in the mostly rural area have been told to stay inside and keep watch. Two families living in one house were evacuated to the State Police headquarters nearby.
Sgt. Tom Molnar said police found the injured Tuesday alonga rural stretch of road in the central Virginia locality east of Lynchburg. He said they were taken from the scene by medicalhelicopter to be treated.
Molnar said Speight at one point fired at a police helicopter responding to the search, and a bullet struck its fuel line, forcing the chopper to make an emergency landing.
Molnar did not indicate what Speight's relationship was to his apparent victims.
As a precaution, a Christian school within several miles waslocked down during the afternoon hours and a state police officer was stationed there.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times