Families and community cope with tragedy

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

APPOMATTOX, VA (WWBT) – The police investigation wrapped up today, leaving historic Appomattox to deal with the loss of many lives. This has been a very difficult day for the students at the high school, but even more so for the families dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Christopher Speight's alleged shooting rampage at his Appomattox home took the lives of his sister Lauralee Sipe, his brother in law Dwayne, his four year old nephew Joshua, and 15 year old niece Morgan Dobyns.

Morgan was best friends with 15 year old Emily Quarles, whose mother and father, Karen and Jonathan, were also killed. Emily's boyfriend Bo Scruggs is also among the dead.

"He was something else. He was very special to everybody involved," said Ashley Scrugg, Bo's sister. "He was full of life, and full of himself, and he made everybody laugh. He made up pet names for everybody."

Family pastor Jennings Duncan says Bo was a fun loving comedian with a tender heart.

"There aren't words to really describe what it's like to see a young innocent life so tragically come to an end," said Duncan.

The family says Bo, Emily and Morgan were inseparable.

"I know I speak for my mother, and father, and me, and my extended family. We just thank you for your support. And for the calls and the cards," said Ashley.

The suspect in this case, 39 year old Christopher Speight, remains in jail tonight. He is currently charged with one count of murder. According to police, other charges are pending.

Authorities said that a search in and around the house turned up night-vision equipment, body armor, and provisions  belonging to Speight. They also found a large amount of weapons and ammunition.

A Lynchburg attorney, who handled legal matters for the family says Speight had a history of mental problems. Friends, family and court records suggest Speight believed he was in a battle with his sister Lauralee over property their mother had left them "jointly" when she died from cancer in 2006. Friends say Speight thought she was trying to push him out of their 3 bedroom home.

Services for the Sipe and Quarles families will be held next week. The funeral for Dwayne, Lauralee and Joshua Sipe will be 11 a.m. Monday at Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg. The service for Lauralee Sipe's daughter Morgan is Sunday at two at Heritage Funeral Home in Lynchburg.

Jonathan, Karen and Emily Quarles will be remembered Tuesday at three, also at Heritage Baptist Church in Lynchburg. Services for Bo Scruggs have not been announced.

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