Update: Cause of Death Released After Deadly Fight in Lynchburg

Shawn Lee Johnson

Update Tuesday:

Lynchburg, VA - Officials with the Lynchburg Police Department say the man killed in a fight on 5th Street in Lynchburg on Sunday was strangled to death.

Officials released the cause of death for Thomas Eugene Belford Tuesday afternoon after getting reports from the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke.


Lynchburg, VA - Lynchburg police say the fight that broke out on 5th Street over the weekend was not random.

Shawn Lee Johnson is in custody and charged with second-degree murder.

Johnson turned himself in to Lynchburg Police around 3 a.m. Sunday.

Witnesses say a dance party had just wrapped up at the Old Dominion Lodge Sunday morning when a fight broke out. They found the victim lying on the ground, face up, with his eyes rolling in the back of his head.

John Fuqua estimates there were 100 people outside the Old Dominion Lodge when he showed up around 2:15 a.m. to clean up from the party.

"Ma'am, I'm 80 years old, been in this building for 55. Nothing surprises me," Fuqua said, standing in the doorway of the lodge.

When he got there, police were roping off a crime scene after they say a fight broke out between two acquaintances, Shawn Johnson and Thomas Belford, both of Lynchburg.

Belford laid clinging to life at a bus stop next to Hutcherson Funeral Home, but was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Captain Whit Clark says the two men knew each other, but he doesn't know to what extent.

"We do know that there was an argument that started the physical altercation and then the fight ensued at that point. We're still waiting for the autopsy to come back," Clark said.

But just one day after the victim died, he was scheduled to go on trial for drug possession.

The assistant commonwealth's attorney says it appears to be a strange coincidence and doesn't appear to be related to the murder.

As the alleged killer, Johnson's expected to be advised Friday morning.