ABC 13 Journalists Look Back on Christopher Speight Manhunt Coverage

Appomattox, VA - All eyes are on Appomattox as the families of the eight people shot to death in Spout Spring prepare to face the alleged killer - Christopher Speight.

On the day the manhunt began, two members of our news family here at ABC 13, had to take cover from the gunfire. Shelley Basinger and Jemon Haskins were the first journalists on the scene.

More than three years ago, the two were sent to cover a body found lying in the roadway near a home in Spout Spring. About five minutes after they got out of the car to shoot some video, they heard the sound of gunshots. It wasn't until later that night they learned just how many people were killed and that those gunshots were allegedly fired by Christopher Speight at a state police helicopter, forcing it to make an emergency landing.

"I heard, 'Shots fired! They're shooting at us! They're shooting at us! They're shooting at us!' And so my first instinct, I ran behind the news truck and just took a little bit of cover," said Haskins.

"I stayed up and watched the 11 just like a viewer would. And the first cold open sound bite was eight fatalities. And my heart dropped," said Basinger.

Our team coverage on this story will continue Friday. Christopher Speight is expected to walk into an Appomattox County Circuit courtroom around 2:30 p.m. for some kind of hearing. Prosecutors aren't saying what it's regarding, but we know Speight is expected to be there in person.

The commonwealth's attorney will hold a news conference following that hearing.

And then at 6 p.m., the families of the victims are holding a candlelight vigil outside of the courthouse.

Be sure and stay with ABC 13 News for the very latest on this story as it develops.