Search Warrants of Ross Ashley's Apartment Unsealed
Radford, VA - Almost a year ago a part time Radford University student killed a Virginia Tech police officer, then himself on campus.
Still though, no motive and very few details have been released about the gunman.
But for the first time, we're learning what police found inside Ross Ashley's apartment. According to a search warrant recently unsealed, officers took paper targets, ear plugs, two keys, a pellet gun and case, laptop, cell phone, box of ammunition, two bibles, a photo of an unidentified female, gun cleaning kit and a resume and class withdrawal form.
Nearly a year later, state police still won't comment on any of that evidence or a handwritten note found inside Ross Ashley's SUV.
The Montgomery County Commonwealth's attorney says Ashley was supposed to have a job interview the morning of the shooting but he never showed.
As far as a connection, "I think the only little piece that they found was that Ross Ashley worked at the Fatz Cafe in Dublin and that the Crouse family had eaten dinner there a few times," Mary Pettitt said.
Some have speculated Ross Ashley was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Several neighbors described his strange behavior leading up to the shooting and wondered if it was prompted by sickness instead of rage.
"I opened my door to hear him talking on his phone and he was just cursing to himself really loudly," neighbor Shawn Hurley recalled after the shooting.
HIPPA laws prohibit investigators and prosecutors from commenting on Ross Ashley's mental health. So, we may never know what brought him to Virginia Tech that Thursday morning, why he pulled the trigger or why Officer Crouse had to be on the other end.
"At the end of the day it's just a random, heinous crime," said Pettitt.
It's a long road back to Partlow, where questions don't always have answers and hope sometimes leads to dead ends.
"I didn't know he had any problems," said Brenda Kerhan, who lived next door to Ross Ashley when he was in high school.
From the outside looking in, she says he appeared to have a happy childhood.
"His dad built the house and they were outside playing. That was actually the first time I saw them," Kerhan explained.
Neighbors say the Ashley's moved from Chancellor, Virginia to Partlow during his junior year of high school.
The rural town of roughly 2,000 people isn't far from the banks of Lake Anna, where even strangers get a nod and a wave.
So imagine that feeling last December when the town heard about what happened.
Kerhan saw her next door neighbor's picture after clicking on the news.
"We didn't realize who he was until they mentioned Spotsylvania County and their name. And then we knew exactly who it was," she said.
While news crews pulled up to the family's isolated cabin, neighbors tried to understand how a quiet 22-year-old high school football star could take his own life and an officer's in such a public way.
"About a week before we heard them arguing, the father and the son," Kerhan remembered.
Neighbors haven't spoken to the Ashleys since the shooting, but they don't need to understand their pain.
"If there's something wrong in the community then everybody feels it," she said.
Neighbors say the Ashley's still live in Partlow. We tried to contact the family in person, online and on the phone but never heard back.