Police to watch over Louisa victims' funerals

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

LOUISA, VA (WWBT) - Funerals will take place this weekend for the two young men killed in the Louisa shootings. Where there is sorrow, a badge won't be far behind.

There is a very delicate job ahead awaiting local law enforcement: How to keep the peace among still feuding family members while allowing them to mourn the lives of two young men.

Chris Spare is not a relative, nor is he family. But he will be in the background Saturday, for the funeral of Mark Cooper, Jr.

"We don't want to interfere with anyone's service. That's not what we're here for. We just want to make sure it goes off smoothly and that we don't have any problems," said Spare, who is the chief of the Gordonsville Police Department.

Cooper and his cousin, Charles Steadman Jr., were killed last Sunday in a rampage begun by their relative, Charles Sponaugle, who was so enraged by a property dispute he shot six family members, before law enforcement shot and killed him.

"You know, it's sad what happened. It's a sad situation. And I hope that folks are able to work through it and act appropriately while they're here for the different services," Spare said.

One service will take place in Gordonsville, the other in Louisa. Law enforcement will be there for each one. The two young men who were described as close friends, will then be buried side-by-side at Maplewood Cemetery.

Family members said off camera there is still tension, and emotion. Too many arrangements to make, and not enough time. For now, they'll celebrate their cherished memories.

It's Chris's hope that the fight over land, can wait for another day.

"Most folks are gonna come here, they're gonna pay their respects, and that's what this is all about," Spare said.

The funeral for Mark Cooper, Jr. will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at the Preddy Funeral Home in Gordonsville.

The service for Charles Steadman, Jr. will begin Sunday at 2 p.m. at New Life Community Church in Louisa.

A private visitation for Charles Sponaugle took place Friday afternoon at Thomasson Watson Funeral Home in Louisa. A private memorial service followed by cremation is being planned for Wednesday.

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