UPDATE: Motive unknown in deadly Appomattox shooting spree

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

APPOMATTOX, VA (WWBT) – Tonight everyone in this community is asking why? And that's at the heart of the police investigation. They're searching for a motive for the murders of eight people.

Police are also still trying to identify the victims. We know Christopher Speight knew them all, but it could be a few more days before we learn their names. The first victim was found yesterday afternoon lying in the road.

Tammy and Joyce Randolph set out for Lynchburg yesterday, but never made it out of the neighborhood.

"I saw the body to the left. I stopped instantly. I called 911," said Tammy.

"While she was calling I got out and walked over. I kept on saying sir are you alright, sir? I could tell he was breathing," Joyce said.

"He had a hood on and the hood was full of blood," Tammy said.

The body was face down. Then Tammy found another body. She ran to the nearby house to get help, but the arrival of police stopped her from possibly running right into Christopher Speight.

"He heard the sirens. That's when we heard the gunshots. He fired seven times. Of course all of us took off running," Tammy said.

"I was standing watch on high knoll in the back and we saw my uncle's sheep which was located in that area, running out of the woods," said Wayne Phelps.

Wayne Phelps owns the property next door. Police say Speight shot a helicopter out of the sky. It landed in Phelps's backyard.

"The pilot was very fortunate. I think it was hit either four or five times. One bullet went really close to the seat so he was very lucky," Phelps said.

Both neighbors say they didn't know a thing about Speight.

"He was an individual that stayed to himself," Phelps said.

But gunshots were often heard coming from the property.

"We hear him shooting all the time. We just figured he was a cop. That's what Rob, my fiancé, told me. He was a cop and just target practicing," Tammy said.

A day later, police are trying to process the crime scene. But their efforts are slow going. So far, seven explosives have been rendered harmless on Speight's property. The work has stopped for the evening because of the rain, but will begin again Thursday morning.

Investigators are searching the property for the murder weapon, a high powered rifle. Speight is at the Appomattox jail tonight. Charges are still pending.

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