VA - Shooting Rampage, Appomattox, Christopher Speight, 17-19 Jan 2010

oceanblueeyes

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Attorney: Va. Killing Suspect Had Mental Problems

Lynchburg attorney Henry Devening, who handled legal matters for Speight's family, said Thursday he does not understand how Speight could have thought anyone was throwing him out. He said Speight's sister was trying to do right by him, last week signing a deed that put the Appomattox property in his name as their grandparents had asked in a 2006 trust.

"My relationship with these folks was purely business, but Lauralee was a great person," Devening said. "Very motivated to take care of the family. I can't imagine why he would turn on her."

Speight had an apparent learning disability and history of mental problems, and "ran away" from his sister's Georgia home during a breakdown in 2007, Devening said.

Devening said he does not know if Speight was treated or hospitalized but said the family decided then that his sister and the attorney should become the trustees.

Speight never objected.

"He was just kind of an inadequate person. He just did not want the responsibility of being the trustee," Devening said. "Looking back, I'm not quite sure why we chose him, other than that he was a resident of Virginia and lived with the grandparents at the time."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,583389,00.html
 

Missizzy

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Is there any notation anywhere, or info from locals, as to weather Speight had an official diagnosis and/or was on meds?

Another thing to consider is whether or not he might have been a recipient of SSI due to a diagnosed disability. This can complicate property ownership or even sharing the living quarters of a home to a huge degree. I'm reading between the lines here but wondering if maybe the family was trying to do the best thing for him financially but placate him by telling him something else when he flew off the handle.
 

oceanblueeyes

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Is there any notation anywhere, or info from locals, as to weather Speight had an official diagnosis and/or was on meds?

Another thing to consider is whether or not he might have been a recipient of SSI due to a diagnosed disability. This can complicate property ownership or even sharing the living quarters of a home to a huge degree. I'm reading between the lines here but wondering if maybe the family was trying to do the best thing for him financially but placate him by telling him something else when he flew off the handle.

I haven't seen anything that mentions he had even seen a psychiatrist or was taking medications. All I have read is he really struggled after his mother passed away and he was very close to her.

I wouldn't think so since he was working as a security guard.
 

Missizzy

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"Speight had an apparent learning disability and history of mental problems, and "ran away" from his sister's Georgia home during a breakdown in 2007, Devening said."

This is copied from above. I find it almost unbelievable that someone with "learning disabilities" and "breakdowns" was able to pass the exams to receive his certification for a security position. I would have thought that in a close knit community, there would have been red flags raised about this.

My kids have similar challenges and can't pass a driver's exam or get a regular HS diploma. One time one of them went down and tried to get a driver's permit and we were called by a local person who knew something wasn't right.

I have to admit that this case caused me to call a friend who's in LE to learn exactly what the pertinent laws are for gun ownership if one of my kids tried that path. It just wouldn't be safe. I know because I'm their Mom and I know the "whole story".
 

oceanblueeyes

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"Speight had an apparent learning disability and history of mental problems, and "ran away" from his sister's Georgia home during a breakdown in 2007, Devening said."

This is copied from above. I find it almost unbelievable that someone with "learning disabilities" and "breakdowns" was able to pass the exams to receive his certification for a security position. I would have thought that in a close knit community, there would have been red flags raised about this.

My kids have similar challenges and can't pass a driver's exam or get a regular HS diploma. One time one of them went down and tried to get a driver's permit and we were called by a local person who knew something wasn't right.

I have to admit that this case caused me to call a friend who's in LE to learn exactly what the pertinent laws are for gun ownership if one of my kids tried that path. It just wouldn't be safe. I know because I'm their Mom and I know the "whole story".

You would think since this is such a small community that everyone would know if Speight had serious mental issues rising to the level that being a security guard would be unwise but it seems most of those who have spoken out weren't aware but did seem to be aware that he has struggled over the death of his mother in 2006. Even the security guard that trained and worked with Speight commented he was a good security guard.

I wonder if the breakdown in 2007 was to do with his grief over his mother's death. It does seem rather odd that they would say he ran away from his sister's when the man would have been around 37 years of age.

I believe the only requirement in order to have a permit to carry a firearm is the FBI does a criminal background check before permit is approved or renewed. I would think he does have a drivers license since iirc he has one speeding ticket. I also read that he had graduated high school.

There are no requirements that I am aware of for someone to possess long guns such as hunting rifles etc. unless the firearm (both handgun and long gun) is bought from a licensed dealer and then a FBI criminal background check is run before the person can have the gun and it is registered in their name. I imagine many of the guns he had were passed down to him by his family, most likely his grandfather.

One time I won a deer hunting rifle and when I went to the gun shop to pick it up I filled out paperwork and then they did an FBI criminal background check. It took them less than 15 minutes to get the results back and the gun was then legally registered in my name and I walked out with the rifle. Of course I have no criminal history whatsoever nor have I ever been treated for any mental disorders so mine was a simple process.

So I am not sure what the extent of his mental issues really are and I hope that more is revealed about that although I do not believe it will rise to the level needed in this case and he will not be deemed criminally insane.

imo
 

Wes

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From comment section on WSET website (http://cfc.wset.com/forums/viewmessages.cfm?forum=39&topic=74050&srow=71&erow=80)


[Hey I am the ex of Speight. We shared 3 1/2 years together & I knew his family that he killed. We were together from Mar 2001 to Nov 2004. I heard from a friend of his back in 05 that his mom was ill from a Brain Tumor & then she later passed in 2006. I have not seen him since we went seperate ways in 04. Wish I would have been there for him after his mother's passing but couldn't get over my nerves to do so since he & I were no longer together & I was just young at the time.

So what are your thought's on this? You say you feel the attorney that was doing all the legal works over the years regarding his familysinheritances etc is underhanded . Do you feel like you say he is hiding some things? Can you tell a little more in debth of why you feel he is not telling all of the truth? Like what possible factors?

Everyone that knew him & that was close to him including me are soo shocked & hurt over this very sad tragedy. We know Chris would never turn on his family like that or others! He always loved his family, never argued or fought anyone, family seemed always respectful to eachother etc. & had a solid church background. We thought before this article that after his sister & brother in law & their kids moved in w/ him the summer 09 & considering this is half a year later there may have been a dispute involved over his house he has always lived in in Appomattox. From this current report shows just that.


Now, the attorney is correct about his estates in Norfolk & VA Beach. (Grandfather's estates whom passed.) & his mother's property in Appomoattox as apart of his inheritance when she passed. The attorney is correct about Chris having a learning disability also & was not able to write or fill out application's etc very well due to some form of deslexia or some sort. But he could read & remember him always reading magazines such as military or gun mags. Now regarding the legal documents of what was in his will & what he was enititled too or other legal documents he may have not been able to fully understand but am not sure. But this still doesn't solve this puzzle. If his sister Laura Lee Sipe had meant with the attorney regarding handling over all his entitlements last week & especially his mother's house in Appomattox & legalized his name as the OWNER(S) of the properties since she felt he was mentally ok to handle the estates. Than how would he not understand the simple words of his sister stating they were handing all of his properties back over to him??? Speight was never ever irrational, & would never flip out like this at all! I am aware that everyone has their breaking point & they could be telling the truth about him breaking down a year later after his mom's passing b/c he loved his mother very much! But having a History of mental issues is incorrect. 4 years or so after his mom's passing & sickness she endured before her passing is not by all means a history of mental issues. And if it was just one or 2 inccidences of him mentally unstable than they need to correct that one the report & in their records then! ]
 

Missizzy

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There's a number of posts by this person who reveals that she is Speight's ex g/f. If you run back to the beginning of the posts, you'll see a few other posts which sound like the same person but using different names and avatars. Hmmm

She makes an awful lot of the fact that he can't fill out forms and thus, that has kept him from the military, etc. Very curious. We'll just have to see. Once again, I get very upset when family or friends say, "He would NOT do this". I understand that people are in shock but can't people say, "I'm shocked that he did this"?
 

Cerenity2u

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I'm not going to go into the communities opinion of the attorney, Mr. Devening, but what I will say is either the attorney is not making the facts clear for the media, or the media is misconstruing the information given to them.
The fact is and this is comming from a prominent figure of the community, close neighbor and long time friend of the families, that the home in VA Beach owned by Lauralees and Chris's grandparents was deeded to both of them when the grandparents moved down south. The home the grandparents purchased in Appomattox was deeded to Lauralees and Chris's Mother (Susan). Susan lived in this home the while teaching at the middle school here, she taught for 18 years before she became ill with a brain tumor. Several months before her death, she transfered the deed over to Lauralee and Chris. They both then co-owned the home. What I heard from those who knew them today, is that Lauralee would be taking sole ownership of the VA beach home, and Chris would be taking sole ownership of the Appomattox home. Apparently this was agreed on, which is why Lauralee set into motion the transfer of her half of the property to Chris. Also local chatter is that Chris had his own attorney which was a local one...thats all I know about this issue with info comming from locals in the know, other than everyone is really confused as to why then did Speights snap if everything was being set into motion legally for him to have sole ownership of the Appomattox property? Also, the grandparents spent most of their time in the VA beach home, not the Appomattox home.

Thank you for the information but I am very puzzled by this.. are you saying that Lauralee's own attorney Henry Devening doesnt know what he is talking about?
Thanks in advance.
 

Cerenity2u

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Gosh, with all this talk about the arguing over the property and the possible reason why Speights did such a horrible thing, I just wanted everyone to know what a great family this really was. I just don't want everyone to start getting the impression that arguing over this land was all they did, they really did love and take care of each other. Lauralee was an awesome person, the kind of person that would give you the shirt off her back, literally. This is a family that would do without so others could have and believe it or not, none of them were greedy people..this is why it is so hard to wrap our brains around the fact that Speights did this to his family. It really makes no sense what so ever...also nobody in the community is making excuses for Speights. Those who are making statements such as "HE would not do this" etc, are really only answering specific questions asked of them about his character prior to the shootings. Also the media is not printing these statements in their entirety. What most are actually saying is "The Chris that I knew would NOT do this, I am in total shock". I can tell you that even those making those statements and those who were friends with him would love to get their hands on him right now...it would not be pretty. But the media cuts all that out unfortunately.
 

Cerenity2u

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Police list guns and bombs recovered from Appomattox shooting suspect’s home
Related Links
Slideshow: Photos of the victims

More stories

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Funerals set for victims of Appomattox shooting

• PDF: Christopher B. Speight’s letter accompanying his concealed weapon permit application on file in Appomattox County Circuit Court




• PDF: A reference letter from the Appomattox Circuit Court file on Christopher B. Speight’s concealed weapon permit



http://www2.wsls.com/sls/news/local...ecovered_from_appomattox_suspects_home/76597/

According to the inventories of Speight’s Snapps Mill Road property, investigators found:

• two homemade mortar tubes, with explosive charges and shot,
• six improvised hand grenades with fuses,
• another homemade improvised grenade, listed separately in the inventories,
• two IEDs with chemical irritant attached,
• two improvised anti-personnel mines,
• five improvised explosive fusing systems,
• nine parachute flares,
• three smoke grenades,
• one steel pipe bomb with end caps,
• one PVC pipe bomb with end caps,
• six airborne signal flares,
• four homemade explosive devices made from aluminum with loads and primers,
• one Springfield rifle,
• two 7.62MM firearms,
• two Norinco Model 320 firearms,
• one Marlin Model 60 .22-caliber rifle,
• one Colt rifle with magazine and ammunition,
• one Olympic Arms rifle with magazine and ammunition,
• one Glock 9 MM pistol,
• one Bushmaster rifle,
• two Rock River Arms AR-15 rifles, and
• 9MM and .223-caliber cartridges.
 

oceanblueeyes

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Gosh, with all this talk about the arguing over the property and the possible reason why Speights did such a horrible thing, I just wanted everyone to know what a great family this really was. I just don't want everyone to start getting the impression that arguing over this land was all they did, they really did love and take care of each other. Lauralee was an awesome person, the kind of person that would give you the shirt off her back, literally. This is a family that would do without so others could have and believe it or not, none of them were greedy people..this is why it is so hard to wrap our brains around the fact that Speights did this to his family. It really makes no sense what so ever...also nobody in the community is making excuses for Speights. Those who are making statements such as "HE would not do this" etc, are really only answering specific questions asked of them about his character prior to the shootings. Also the media is not printing these statements in their entirety. What most are actually saying is "The Chris that I knew would NOT do this, I am in total shock". I can tell you that even those making those statements and those who were friends with him would love to get their hands on him right now...it would not be pretty. But the media cuts all that out unfortunately.

I agree much of this makes no sense. I have read that all the family was close knit including Speight and his sister.

If Lauralee had told him that she was going to go to the attorney's the week before this happened to sign the proper paperwork to deed the Appomattox property to him then why did he murder everyone?

That is one of the main parts that makes no sense to me. There has to be more to this story than is being revealed now.

It will be interesting to learn at trial what really transpired around the time of this tragic event between Speight and his sister. Since both seem to have attorneys working on the property issue I am sure they will be called to testify in court.

imo
 

Dallasdon

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Police list guns and bombs recovered from Appomattox shooting suspect’s home
Related Links
Slideshow: Photos of the victims

More stories

Related stories

Funerals set for victims of Appomattox shooting

• PDF: Christopher B. Speight’s letter accompanying his concealed weapon permit application on file in Appomattox County Circuit Court




• PDF: A reference letter from the Appomattox Circuit Court file on Christopher B. Speight’s concealed weapon permit



http://www2.wsls.com/sls/news/local...ecovered_from_appomattox_suspects_home/76597/

According to the inventories of Speight’s Snapps Mill Road property, investigators found:

• two homemade mortar tubes, with explosive charges and shot,
• six improvised hand grenades with fuses,
• another homemade improvised grenade, listed separately in the inventories,
• two IEDs with chemical irritant attached,
• two improvised anti-personnel mines,
• five improvised explosive fusing systems,
• nine parachute flares,
• three smoke grenades,
• one steel pipe bomb with end caps,
• one PVC pipe bomb with end caps,
• six airborne signal flares,
• four homemade explosive devices made from aluminum with loads and primers,

• one Springfield rifle,
• two 7.62MM firearms,
• two Norinco Model 320 firearms,
• one Marlin Model 60 .22-caliber rifle,
• one Colt rifle with magazine and ammunition,
• one Olympic Arms rifle with magazine and ammunition,
• one Glock 9 MM pistol,
• one Bushmaster rifle,
• two Rock River Arms AR-15 rifles, and
• 9MM and .223-caliber cartridges.

I'm playing 'ketchup' on all this, but all this focus on the recent property arguments they were having seems to me to be the wrong focus on what happened.

Now, I'm a multi-gun owner. Love to hunt and go shoot at the range.

But the stockpile he built goes wayyyy beyond this.

He didn't just recently decide to go on this rampage.
It took a long time to build that stockpile, plant bombs all around the property, hide food rations, etc.

That's why I think it is wrong to put so much focus on the recent legal paperwork.

Doing that is our way of trying to rationalize his irrational actions.
 

tapu

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Well, now that you say it... of course, Dallasdon, that is exactly right. :eek:


The question is not how did the nice guy suddenly snap, or even how did he hide his darker side all along. The arsenal described begs several questions: How long did he prepare for a massacre? To what extent did he expect it to be successful (#kill)? How long did he expect to survive it himself, and would he be fighting off all comers if that what came to pass? This guys was entrenched. It's amazing, too, that he could keep all those supplies and arrangements secret. Like, wow. Hm, wonder if it all predates the mother's death....
 

Dallasdon

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Well, now that you say it... of course, Dallasdon, that is exactly right. :eek:


The question is not how did the nice guy suddenly snap, or even how did he hide his darker side all along. The arsenal described begs several questions: How long did he prepare for a massacre? To what extent did he expect it to be successful (#kill)? How long did he expect to survive it himself, and would he be fighting off all comers if that what came to pass? This guys was entrenched. It's amazing, too, that he could keep all those supplies and arrangements secret. Like, wow. Hm, wonder if it all predates the mother's death....

Exactly.

To me, that should be the focus.

This goes way beyond an argument that ended in Speight grabbing a gun and start shooting.

This was his plan for a long time.
 

Missizzy

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I honestly believe that as this case moves forward, we're going to learn that this man was diagnosed with some major mental illness ie. paranoid schizophrenia. My guess is that he was not consistent about taking his meds. If he was on the meds, he most likely WAS the kind and charming man neighbors described. Off his meds, he was a monster.

I do not know guns but I would imagine that the guns were a hobby and fascination throughout his teen/adult life and he only dangerously stockpiled or plotted while off meds. Very similar to any other interest.

I knew of a young woman who went off her meds for schizophrenia and spent all her time and money at amusement parks. She had a long term interest in them and enjoyed the rides. However, off her meds, she couldn't control the compulsion and became criminal in her refusal to leave or follow the rules. She was ultimately arrested for assault which was totally out of character for her.

I really believe that Mr. Speight will be shown to suffer some form of psychosis.

I wanted to thank the locals for reiterating that the media is taking comments out of context. I'm sure you are all just reeling from the losses of these families. My heart goes out to you. I can't tell you what a wake-up call this has been for me with so many adult children with diagnosed mental illnesses. We have never owned guns but you can be sure I'll be watching my sons for any signs of interest in that area.
 

Wes

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Appomattox, VA - The director of Robinson Funeral Home in Appomattox says Sunday's 2:00 p.m. funeral for Ronald Scruggs II, or "Bo" has been rescheduled for Tuesday at 2:00 p.m. at the funeral home.

Bo's father, Ronald Senior was taken to Lynchburg General Hospital for an apparent heart attack. At last check, hospital officials say he is in stable condition and resting well.


http://www.wset.com/news/stories/0110/699138.html
 

tapu

Pretty scary.
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Dallasdon.... and others, of course... just picking up on what he and I were posting about:


Others had to be involved in setting him up. I don't mean knowledgeable others, but at least people who helped him dig in and stock up, I'd think. And whoever he got so much arms and ammunition from. He must have had a pretty big source of funds....

What else helps paint the picture of how this went down? It's not a guy with two rifles and a handgun shooting up his home or workplace.

So strange.... I can't think of anything like it, except extreme cases like Koresh, Move (philadelphia, i think), but those were groups.


on edit: actuallly, those cases aren't like this. the group was together there, and the threat was outside the group.
 

oceanblueeyes

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Dallasdon.... and others, of course... just picking up on what he and I were posting about:


Others had to be involved in setting him up. I don't mean knowledgeable others, but at least people who helped him dig in and stock up, I'd think. And whoever he got so much arms and ammunition from. He must have had a pretty big source of funds....

What else helps paint the picture of how this went down? It's not a guy with two rifles and a handgun shooting up his home or workplace.

So strange.... I can't think of anything like it, except extreme cases like Koresh, Move (philadelphia, i think), but those were groups.


on edit: actually, those cases aren't like this. the group was together there, and the threat was outside the group.

It isn't uncommon for gun collectors to have a vast array of guns. He also may have had guns that had been passed down to him by a family member such as his grandfather.

As far as all the ammunition being there I don't put that much stock in that. The ones that spoke out said he had always had a shooting range on the property for yeara and lots of ammunition is shot up in target shooting.

Much of the other stuff can be bought on the internet.

It is the explosives that are the most eerie to me. It seems this man had become paranoid.

imo
 

Cerenity2u

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I agree with you 100% and so does the community. The more details that come out, the harder the shock factor is on the community..it's all so hard to believe that nobody even had a clue or even saw any red flags with Speights. One of his closest neighbors, looking back, even feels like he should have and wished he called the law on Speights on numerous occasions when he was target practicing late nights. All of the neighbors had been very annoyed with him over the last 3 months for constant target shooting and the times of day and night he was doing it, yet nobody wanted to call the law on him because they were all friends. Looking back the neighbors now wished they had of. None of them even had a clue that he had a bunker on the property, but everyone was well aware that he was an avid gun collector, as are many locals here. Lots of guilt from many who are wondering how in the world could they have over looked his actions and not see that something was about to go very wrong. Everyone is absolutely still in shock as details about Speights keep coming out. He was definitely planning something bigger, that goes way beyond the property issue, obviously. One of our friends on the Sherriffs department that rode in the car with Speights during his arrest said that one of Speights first comments in the car was "I could have shot every single one of you last night, every last one of you, I had night vision goggles and knew your every move, but I didn't feel like killing any more". Pardon me, but WTF? Also when he surrendered he was dressed in one of those special camouflage suits that special forces use, a bullet proof vest and had his entire face painted camouflage. He also stated that he wanted to kill the woman who stopped to try and help the victim on the road, but he couldn't get a clear shot of her. He was disappointed in himself that he missed the post man, and the rescue personnel in the rescue squad..both vehicles have bullet holes in them. And the list of arsenal and bombs that I posted earlier? that isn't even the half of it...I think there is an updated list somewhere, I just haven't bothered looking for it yet. And if things couldn't get any worse for Bo Scruggs family, his father had just been laid off from his job right before his son was murdered, then suffered a heart attack. He is doing well and expected to be released either late this evening or tomorrow morning. Can things get any worse for these poor families? Also according to relatives, they think the fight on Saturday had nothing to do with the property, but rather about Speights target practicing very late that night, (neighbors confirmed the late Sat. night shooting also) Lauralee had called a neighbor and a relative to vent about his late night shooting and before she hung up, she made the statement that "this is going to stop and it's going to stop right now, I've had it!" Many think she went out side to confront him about it, thus the beginning of their heated argument. She also told family that she didn't want Speights to know that she was signing over the deed to the property to him, as she wanted it to be a surprise. I think this may be correct, because one of our friends on the sheriff's department said that when Speight was told this piece of information he said that she never told him that was what she was doing and that he thought she was trying to take it away from him. Sorry so long, just trying to fill you all in on what the locals are saying and also agreeing with you all that there is much more to this than property.


I'm playing 'ketchup' on all this, but all this focus on the recent property arguments they were having seems to me to be the wrong focus on what happened.

Now, I'm a multi-gun owner. Love to hunt and go shoot at the range.

But the stockpile he built goes wayyyy beyond this.

He didn't just recently decide to go on this rampage.
It took a long time to build that stockpile, plant bombs all around the property, hide food rations, etc.

That's why I think it is wrong to put so much focus on the recent legal paperwork.

Doing that is our way of trying to rationalize his irrational actions.
 

Missizzy

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Cerenity--You must be reeling. I'm so sorry for your community and hold Bo's father up in my prayers. The man must be hurting so much. I think you are totally correct. This had nothing to do with a family argument. There was a tsunami building in Chris's brain.

The late night target practice could (I'm not going to say should, as we don't have the luxury of hindsight) be a red flag. Often, those suffering from psychotic breaks or mania cannot sleep and will run fast and faster on pure adrenalin. I have no doubt that somewhere in Chris's mind, he was thankful that he was stopped. He had lost his tempering valve and needed someone to step in and turn off his brain and his anger.

I know this sounds heartless but I don't mean it to be at all. The loss of life is tragic and unforgivable. However, I think if LE had not responded as they did, we would have seen far greater carnage. I think Chris was planning something much bigger than what actually came down.

Once again, PLEASE make sure that you and your family seek out the solace you desperately need right now. I'm sure that grief counselors have been made available and clergy are standing by ready to help. Grieving after a trauma is messy but you'll be stronger, I know. To be blunt, the women of your town need to encourage and/or drag the men to get help. Getting help is NOT a sign of weakness. It is a recognition of human need and of inner strength.

Your community is close and you will get through this....together. You've got a lot of people pulling for you.
 
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