Murder-suicide: Rio Mills standoff leaves two men dead
A neighbor had heard gunshots before behind the Rio Mills Road house where two men were found dead December 26, but she didn't that day.
"We heard nothing yesterday," says Charlotte Pusey. "We never heard one gunshot throughout the entire ordeal."
Pusey was home the day after Christmas when she noticed blue lights around noon in front of 2525 Rio Mills Road, a house owned by James T. "Sonny" Marshall.
Nearly six hours later, Albemarle County Police, using a Charlottesville Police-owned armored vehicle and a SWAT team, crashed through the garage door of a separate building on Marshall's property and found two men dead.
Police know at least three shots were fired: The one that killed Marshall, 50, which they believe was fired by Frank Davis Jr., 44, of Rochelle; the one that killed Daivs, which they say was self-inflicted, and a shot fired by an officer at Davis.
A call came in about a disorder around 11:45am, followed by a second call reporting a man with a gun was standing over a second man on the ground, according to an Albemarle police release,.
The first two officers to arrive say they saw Davis in a garage not attached to the house and he pointed a rifle at them. One of the officers fired back.
Lieutenant Todd Hopwood declined to identify the officer, and says Virginia State Police are investigating that shooting.
It was a miserable rainy, sleeting day, says Hopwood, of the scene that had more than 35 officers on hand and kept residents out of their homes for much of the day.
The phalanx of police from Charlottesville, Greene, and even the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries secured the area, and tried to make contact with Davis with phone calls and a loud speaker. "We were not getting any response," says Hopwood.
The bodies of both men were sent to the Medical Examiner in Richmond, says Hopwood.
With dozens of police surrounding the property, did anyone hear the self-inflicted gunshot that killed Davis? "I'm not going to comment on the sound of gunfire," says Hopwood.
Rio Mills Road has a blend of residences. Across the street from Marshall's house, built in 1998 on 1.41 acres and assessed at $339,200, according to county records, is a 1919-vintage house assessed at $132,000. Another neighboring house appears abandoned, and just down the road is Rockydale Quarry.
Marshall used to work at Charlottesville Aquatic, according to a source acquainted with him. A business called Aquatic Endeavors is listed at his Rio Mills address.
"He was a nice, nice fellow," says neighbor Connie Eppard. "He was a Christian and went to church near the airport."
Eppard says she just met him once, when she called him about his dogs running loose. "They're beautiful dogs– boxers, I think."
She said she spent about an hour talking to Marshall. "We're just devastated," she says. "I'm looking out my front door and see this yellow tape. We couldn't get back to our house for six hours."
"It's a little unnerving," says Pusey of the gunfire she'd heard in the past, but not on the day of the shootings.
"I'm really concerned about the boxers," she adds.
A man answering the phone at Marshall's house declined comment.