One Year Since Shootings, Appomattox Co. Community Remembers

Christopher Speight

Reporter: Dhomonique Ricks l Videographer: Jemon Haskins

Appomattox Co., VA - Wednesday marked a painful anniversary for the Appomattox County community. It has now been one year since eight people were killed in the state's worst mass shooting since the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

The victims were all found near a home on Snapps Mill Road: Jon, Karen, and Emily Quarles; Lauralee, Dwayne, and Joshua Sipe; Morgan Dobyns and Bo Scruggs.

State Police spent all night in a standoff with the accused gunman Christopher Speight. He was later arrested and charged with multiple counts, including capital murder. A judge found him competent to stand trial last month. A trial date has still not been set.

On Wednesday, people's thoughts were on the horrors that rocked the area.

"This has been a long year. That day changed a big part of my life," Campbell County Investigator Robert New said.

New responded to the homicide last January. Little did he know what he and his colleagues would discover.

"It was the worst scenario that we had seen in this area in recent memory," Campbell County Captain of Field and Special Operations Kevin Schmitt said.

"We got into the yard and we saw a number of bodies in the yard, on the porch," Schmitt said.

Four of them were New's own family members, including his brother.

"Although it was my family that had been killed, I still had a job to complete that day," New said.

Appomattox County High School is still coping too.

"It was a horrific tragedy for our students and our community," Superintendent of Appomattox County Public Schools Dr. Dorinda Grasty said.

Students started the first day of their second semester with a moment of silence. Staff laid flowers at the markers of the three fallen students.

Senior Alex Goin was best friends with Bo Scruggs.

"It was really, really tough when it first happened. For everybody. But I think now people are starting to realize that everything's going to happen for a reason," Goin said. "We all know we'll see em again. One day."

So though a year has passed, the grieving still continues.

"There are still days that I wish I could talk to my brother," New said. "It's been difficult. I can't say that it has not. It has been difficult. But like I said I try to learn from everything that goes on, and I'm moving on."

Appomattox County High School also had a psychologist on hand Wednesday. Officials with the school say many students are using Facebook as an outlet as well.