Virginia

Man Fatally Shot During Hostage Situation in Luray

The man began acting paranoid after his mother's recent death, a close friend says

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Officers fatally shot a man who police said pointed a gun at law enforcement as he emerged from a Virginia convenience store where he held two people hostage.

Local, state and federal law enforcement officers responded to a 911 call Tuesday reporting an armed man took people hostage inside the convenience store in the 500 block of West Main Street in Luray, Virginia State Police said in a news release.

Authorities tried to talk to the suspect, 39-year-old De'Shon Hill, with a loudspeaker, but police said Hill refused to cooperate with repeated commands to put down his weapon and leave the building. After about an hour, police said Hill walked through the store's front doors with a long gun pointed at law enforcement and officers fired at him. He died at the scene.

Chopper4 footage from the scene showed a long gun on the ground and numerous evidence markers.

Hill's close friend Karen Peyton told News4 he was not himself lately, and his mother had recently died.

"I know he just loved her to death. It really bothered him," she said.

Peyton said Hill had started acting paranoid, frequently calling 911 to report break-ins. Hours before the standoff, he reportedly went to a hospital but was not admitted, she said.

"The next thing I heard, got a phone call from a friend saying he was at the store holding hostage," Peyton said.

Peyton said she rushed to the store when she found out about the hostage situation, hoping police would let her speak to her friend. She said police turned down her request.

"I was trying to get to him because I have been there and gotten him out of situations before, talked him down, got him calmed down. And I even called 911 on my way saying if they could please just let me talk to him," she said.

She was at the scene when police shot Hill.

"I heard all of the gunshots," she said. "I just screamed because I knew it."

Hill's remains were taken to the Office of the Medical Examiner in Manassas for examination and autopsy. Neither the two hostages nor law enforcement officers were injured.

The trooper who shot Hill was placed on administrative leave as police investigate the incident, state police said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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