By Randy Arrington
LURAY, June 22 — Police pleaded with the gunman repeatedly to “put the gun down.”
“Drop the gun De’Shon,” law enforcement officers can be heard saying over and over again with a rising urgency in their voice just moments before they opened fire. Someone across the street from Page Convenience recorded the final moments of “De’Shon’s” life, as he exited the convenience store, raised a rifle toward police and was hit multiple times by a hail of bullets.
A little over an hour earlier, he had entered the West Main Street store with a long gun and barricaded himself inside with two hostages.
“The local, state and federal law enforcement had responded en masse to an emergency 911 call for an armed male subject having taken people hostage inside a convenience store in the 500 block of West Main Street in the Town of Luray. The call came in around noon and the responding law enforcement personnel staged in the parking lot outside the store,” reads the initial report by Virginia State Police issued late Tuesday afternoon.
“For an extended period of time, law enforcement personnel worked to verbally engage the armed male subject via a loudspeaker,” the report continued. “The man refused to cooperate with law enforcement’s repeated commands to put down his weapon and safely exit the building. During the course of the attempted negotiations, he did come to the front of the store and open the door and then retreat[ed] back inside.”
About 1:15 p.m., the male suspect exited the front door, immediately raised his weapon and was shot by police. Law enforcement working the outer perimeter ordered a few dozen bystanders near the road blocks to “get down” and take cover. The shots lasted only a few seconds, as the suspect died at the scene.
“The male suspect exited the store, pointing the gun at officers on the perimeter and officers returned fire,” reads a statement made by Page County Sheriff Chad W. Cubbage. “At this time, Virginia State Police, Division 2 Bureau of Criminal Investigation shoot team has been requested to investigate the incident. No further release will be made by this office.”
Neither of the two hostages inside the store — reportedly a cashier and a delivery man — nor law enforcement on the scene were injured during the incident.
The male suspect killed at the scene was identified Wednesday morning by state police as De’Shon J. Hill, 39, of Luray. The VSP report on Wednesday mirrored Tuesday afternoon’s report, with the addition of the name. Hill’s remains are being transported to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy.
Reports by those who knew him indicate that Hill was suffering from mental health issues and had suffered a recent death in his family. His mother, Sharon “Peaches” Hill, passed away on June 4. De’Shon had started an online fundraiser five days before the shooting to help “cover funeral expenses and any other financial obligations my mom may have.”
While multiple officers fired on the male suspect, only the state police have stated that: “In accordance with state police policy, the trooper involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave pending the ongoing criminal investigation and an administrative investigation.” None of the other agencies involved have issued similar statements.
The Virginia State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation is conducting the investigation into the shooting incident, which involves personnel from state police, Town of Luray Police Department, Town of Shenandoah Police Department, Page County Sheriff’s Office and National Park Police.
Scenes of the aftermath were filmed from at least two helicopters sent by D.C.-based television stations. Images posted by Chopper 4 and ABC7 showed yellow flags marking more than two dozen shell casings sprayed around law enforcement vehicles.
Be the first to comment