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.


What's wrong with this sentence?

"With dozens of police surrounding the property, did anyone hear the self-inflicted gunshot wound that killed Davis? "I'm not going to comment on the sound of gunfire," says Davis."

@Eh: Thanks. It's been corrected.--Courteney Stuart

Sure thing, Courtney. It seemed unlikely that Davis would be commenting on anything at this point.

Still doesn't make sense, Courteney. How can you hear a gunshot wound? Do you mean did anyone hear the gunshot that wounded....?

Uh, we need a proofreader. Thanks, Desdemona. Another correction has been made. -- Lisa Provence

I would like to know where did the bullet go that the officer shot?

I remember a bass player around town that had "Eh?" painted on his bass amp. I'll bet "eh?" is that person...Is it time to put the band back together?

With the victim dead , accused shooter dead ,coupled with an all clear from the authorities assuring the public is safe in reference to this incident.

No excuse for the authorities to shroud the issue in secrecy nor withhold the name of the second shooter on the grounds they are a peace officer when there will be no trial.

@ Smelly.

Nope. Wrong on both counts.

The Officer who fired at Davies will be put on Administrative Leave until the investigation is completed. How much can the Police comment on this tragedy when they don't yet have all the anwers themselves??? An autopsy will be performed in Richmond and ballistics test will be conducted to determine who fired the fatal shots. As for some of the comments...I just hope you are lucky enough to have a Police Officer standing next to you the next time someone points a rifle in your direction!!!!!

So the cops cowered outside for 6 hours before going in?

Will bet the jet and local vineyard that narcotics were involved...

Youll lose that bet, i bet.

As usual, The Donald has the inside track and knows this to be of fact. Nance: YOU'RE FIRED!

The Donald, that is harsh. If you have the inside track with all your connections and all answer the following..,
Where did the bullet go to that was fired from the officer
Why does the story keep changing from the beginning reports? Like they both went into the garage together after the police officer fired. And the next report states oh no the officer fired into the garage?? Doesn't make sense. Too many I consistencies. How is it they didn't hear the sound of the riffel in the garage go off? They used their high tech equipment to state that Sonny was non responsive . They waited hours trying to communicate to whom??? Was Frank already gone? There equipment couldn't tell them that? Too many questions. Could the officers bullet have been the fatal shot? I agree that the officer needs to protect themseves if they feel threatened... If that is the case why didn't both officers fire ?

The Donald, I agree with confused. Too many inconsistencies. The media even reported that there were no injuries at one point. Why wait 6 hours to go in? 35 officers on site... Harrisonburg police only took an hour in a recent event. I understand that the first job of the officers if they have a victim down is to try and save the victim. In this instance this did not happen. We can only hope that Sonny Marshall did not suffer on the cold hard garage floor while police waited outside to decide what to do. The family is suffering enough and has many, many questions.

In case anyone wonders where the bullet from the cop gun went; the cops probably wonder the same thing. If this cop was as good a shot as most ACPD cops, it MIGHT have hit the BROAD SIDE of the barn the fellows were in. Just sayin.

I am about as far left as they come. Liberal all the way. That said, I am extremely sick and tired of hearing citizens in the area I live in come down on our Police Departments. If you have a problem or complaint go apply and try and change from within. Otherwise shut up. You don't know a bloody thing about what your talking about. @ CCW always - I bet you wouldn't stand up against a Broad barn SIDE and let a single one of those fine ACPD officers fire even one round in your direction. I bet you'd end up looking like a very holey slice of swiss. (I'd go as far as to say you'd have as many holes in you as there are officers).

ACPD - Please don't construct your range in Keene though. It's my neck of the woods and i could do without the constant noise. Just stay at RRPC.

The friends of Sonny Marshall just want to know why it took police so long to go in - did they already know Sonny to be deceased? If not, couldn't they have gone in and possibly saved his life AND the life of the shooter? Something smells really bad here.

Mr/Mrs/Miss Here in AFG, the RRPC doesn't want them. They have already had two of their own officers shoot themselves by accident. The third accidental discharge might hit a civilian member.

Accidents are just that, accidents. But there comes a point in time when RRPC has to consider just how much libility they will share for not terminating the membership of an organization or person who has repeatedly shown their ability of not being able to handle firearms safely and responsibly.

* liability