Ralph Leon Jackson arrested in Parkway shooting
A Valley man is in custody and charged with attempted capital murder in the Monday night shooting along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Ralph Leon Jackson, 56, was arrested at his home Wednesday at 1880 Howardsville Turnpike in Augusta County, the sheriff said at a press conference conducted while the suspect was still being interviewed.
"There is no doubt we have in custody the man who was responsible for the shooting, so the public can breathe a sigh of relief," said Augusta Sheriff Randall Fisher.
Jackson is a married mechanic, according to the sheriff, who says Jackson, who has at least one adult child, who made "incriminating statements" establishing his sole responsibility.
"The Crime-Stoppers tip was very crucial," said the sheriff, who said a tip came in at 2am which caused a multi-jurisdictional team led by the Augusta SWAT team and including a National Park Service helicopter poised for air support to stake out Jackson's home near Stuart's Draft beginning around 4am.
The arrest, he said, occurred "without incident" at 3:15pm.
The sheriff complimented the yet-unnamed couple who rescued the female victim, Christina S. Floyd, who also won praise from the sheriff for battling her attacker despite getting hit with a shotgun blast that caused her sunset-watching companion, Timothy P. Davis, to tumble down a cliff with critical injuries.
Up to three shots were fired, said the sheriff, who believes that Floyd may have wrested the gun away from her attacker.
Sheriff Fisher says that Jackson appears to be a life-long Valley resident who had no known connection to the victims whom he began shooting from his vehicle, a burgundy Kia Sephia.
"We have no motives," Fisher said at the Wednesday night press conference. "There's no rhyme or reason."
Asked by a reporter if the case might be connected to the double-slaying of two Virginia Tech students at a wilderness campground last fall, the sheriff said he didn't yet know but that the Virginia State Police would investigate that.
The Roanoke Times is reporting that police have arrested the man they believe committed Monday night's attack at the Rock Point Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. A Hook reporter is en route to the Valley for a 5pm press conference at the Augusta County Sheriff's office. Details to follow.
With a suspect in custody, the Hook is now able to identify the 18-year-old female victim as Fluvanna County High School senior Christina Floyd, whose name was previously withheld over law enforcement's concerns for her safety as the best– and perhaps only– witness to her attacker. Floyd is recovering from serious injuries sustained during the attack including a collapsed lung, two skull fractures, and broken fingers. At last update, she was in fair condition at UVA Medical Center.
The other victim of Monday's attack, WNRN operations manager Tim Davis, 27, was even more seriously injured after he was shot in the back and tumbled over the edge of the overlook, landing approximately 150 feet below. At last update, he had been unable to give a statement to law enforcement and remained in critical condition.
4:51pm update: Christina Floyd's name
5:12pm update: Suspect's name (last updated 5:52pm)
–last updated 10:26am Thursday, April 8
Original headline: "Breaking: Arrest in Parkway shooter case"