Blue Ridge Parkway
Nelson County, Virginia
Update 8:30 PM EDT
The search continues late this evening for a 50-60 year old white male with gray thinning hair. Police think suspect possibly driving a red Ford Taurus armed with a shotgun is their man. They say he shot an 18 year old female and her 27 year old friend along the Blue Ridge Parkway around sunset Monday evening. The female was able to hitch a ride to the north end of the parkway with a passing motorist to get help and medical attention. The male had to be rescued from roughly 150-200 feet below Rock Point Overlook in a rescue that took about 90 minutes. He was later airlifted from Reeds Gap to UVa.
The Augusta County Sheriff said Tuesday he believes the incident to be random, not domestic in nature.
Several federal, state and local law enforcement agencies are now involved in the investigation.
As NCL first broke Monday evening, lawmen and rescue crews spent most of the nighttime hours along the Blue Ridge Parkway in Nelson and Augusta Counties. Sometime around dark a white male with grayish thinning hair 50-60 years old shot two people on the BRP near Rock Point Overlook. Police say a shotgun may have been used and the suspect may still be in possession of the gun. As of this update, confusion still exists over the exact details of what unfolded. Earlier reports put out by law enforcement and news agencies that 3 people were shot, appear to be from conflicting information on locating all of the victims in the initial hours of the investigation.
As of Tuesday morning, lawmen continued their search for the white male with gray hair possibly driving a red Ford Taurus. “There were some reports that the car was located possibly in Bedford or Botetourt County Monday night, but as of midnight, we still don’t know that to be the case,” said Nelson County Sheriff David Brooks. Brooks says a total of three people were injured in the incident, but it appears as of this story only two were shot. A female 18 years old. A male approximately 27 to 28 years of age.
The male victim was rescued from roughly 200 feet below Rock Point Overlook and later airlifted. “Wintergreen Rescue and Waynesboro’s First Aid Crews carried the male about 1/2 mile by putting him in a stokes basket and carrying him out,” said Curtis Sheets, Chief of Wintergreen Fire & Rescue. Chief Sheets said it took almost 1.5 hrs to carry the injured man out. How he ended up over the cliff is not known at this time. A state trooper was injured as routine part of working the scene but was not assaulted or injured by the suspect.
The 18 year old female that was injured is reported to have been picked up near The Afton Inn on the north end of the parkway and transported to a hospital.
There continues to be great confusion as to exactly what happened, and whether the victim and the shooter know each other. Some authorities on the scene believe it may have been domestic violence, others random.
Virginia State Police had helicopters hovering over the parkway much of Monday night looking for the suspect, but as of midnight had not located him.
We will continue to follow this and update as we have information.
More coverage here from CBS-19 in Charlottesville.
More coverage here from NBC-29 in Charlottesville.
More coverage here from ABC-13 in Lynchburg.