3 dead, 4 wounded in shootout in US state Virginia

Last Updated: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 00:19

Louisa: A man who shot and killed his
son and nephew and wounded four other relatives had been
involved in an ongoing family dispute over a piece of property
in a rural central Virginia neighborhood, authorities said on Monday.

Sheriff`s deputies had been called to the property
nearly two dozen times in recent years - including once
earlier in the day yesterday - before Charles P Steadman
Sponaugle, 52, opened fire on his family members, Louisa
sheriff`s Maj. Donnie Lowe said.

Sponaugle fired at two deputies and unleashed his
pit bull at them before deputies responded, fatally shooting
both Sponaugle and the dog, said Corinne Geller, a Virginia
State Police spokeswoman.

Deputies had been called out to the property around
2 p.m. yesterday and a dispute was resolved. But they were
called again around 4:45 p.m. when Sponaugle opened fire with
a .22-caliber semiautomatic target pistol, Geller said.

Sponaugle shot and killed his son and a nephew.
Also shot were his sister, brother-in-law and two other
nephews.

One nephew was flown to the University of Virginia
Medical Center with life-threatening injuries. Another nephew
was held overnight for observation. His sister and
brother-in-law were treated and released.

P T Spencer, a member of the Louisa County Board of
Supervisors, said today that Sponaugle and two other relatives
had an ongoing dispute over a 1.5-acre lot.

Geller said there were multiple residences on the
property, and that Sponaugle lived at the home where the
shootings took place.

Court documents show that the property was assessed
at USD 52,100. Sponaugle`s mother deeded it to him and five
others, including Kitty Cooper, in July 2002.

Since 2001, deputies had been called out to the
property 23 times, but the disputes had never gotten physical,
Lowe said.

Today, several people gathered outside the
weathered mobile home with boarded-up windows, telling
reporters to leave the property, located off a dirt road. A
few dogs were held in a pin in the front yard.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, August 24, 2010 - 00:19

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