Suspects in Interstate Shootings Arrested

By: CNN/AP
By: CNN/AP

CROZET, Virginia (AP) -- A manhunt for shooters whose potshots at passing cars shut down a mountain highway ended Friday when authorities stormed a central Virginia farm, arresting a teenager and firing at a man carrying a gun.

Virginia State Police say Slade Woodson is a suspect in a series of shootings on I-64.

Investigators said they now believe the shootings that slightly injured two drivers were part of a long night of random gunfire in which the 19-year-old, a former high school athlete with a record of making trouble, and a 16-year-old also shot at a credit union and a residence.

"Everyone can, I think, rest compared to the state that we were in overnight," State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty said at a news conference in Charlottesville.

Slade Allen Woodson, of Afton, was charged in the shootings at the home and the credit union early Thursday, as well as the Interstate 64 shootings, which stirred memories of the Washington-area sniper shootings six years ago that killed 10 people. Video Watch police describe Woodson's arrest »

Authorities also charged a 16-year-old from Crozet whose name was not released.

Besides Woodson's charges in the building shootings, he and the other teen were charged with two felony counts of malicious wounding, one count of attempted malicious wounding, two counts of the use of a firearm in a felony and five counts of maliciously shooting at an occupied vehicle.

They were being held pending bond hearings Monday.
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On a MySpace page attributed to Woodson, he described his occupation as "mechanic, sorta" and wrote, "Im just a country boy who keeps gettin his heart broken!!! Ive got my heart broken twice in less then a year... i dunno wat to do.... keep gettin my heart broke or stop caring!!! and i dont wanna stop caring."

Police declined to offer a possible motive in the highway shootings, which began early Thursday in central Virginia.

According to police, authorities took a call minutes after midnight from a driver in a car that had been shot. In the hours that followed, gunshots hit another car, a van, a tractor-trailer and an unoccupied dump truck.

Sometime between midnight and 2 a.m. Thursday, shots also were fired at the credit union and a residence in Waynesboro.

Investigators promptly shut down a 20-mile stretch of I-64 between Waynesboro and Charlottesville, home to the University of Virginia, reopening it around dawn.

Surveillance video at the credit union captured a light-colored AMC Gremlin around the time shots were fired there, and police found the car Thursday afternoon, abandoned along a road.

Authorities determined that Woodson owns a vehicle similar to the car in the video and accelerated a manhunt that wrapped up in a pre-dawn raid Friday.

Elaine Paley, who lives on a hill overlooking the horse and cattle farm near Crozet, said she was awakened at 4:40 a.m. by a helicopter shining a spotlight on the farm and surrounding woods.

State and county police moved in on the farm just before 5 a.m., shooting a man who confronted them with a handgun, police said. Woodson was taken into custody, and the man was taken to a hospital, where he was in stable condition. His identity wasn't released.

The Albemarle County police officer involved in the shooting is on administrative leave with pay, Chief John Miller said.

Police recovered a gun from the house that is the same caliber as most of the ballistic evidence from the shootings.

"I can't tell you that is the weapon, but it's of the same caliber," Flaherty said.

According to news reports and court records, Woodson was arrested January 18, 2007, on allegations he stole two pickup trucks and set them on fire. Woodson, a former high school pole vaulter, was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of petit larceny and given a suspended sentence.

At Woodson's home in Afton, a handwritten statement was duct-taped to a blue-green Isuzu Trooper parked in front of a white split-level house with a wooden fence, a swingset in the yard and an American flag.

"All we can say is that we love our boy an(d) we hope the incident on I-64 is not related to him," the note stated. "We also want to say our hearts are with the innocent victim that was shot by police during our sons arrest."
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People at the home declined to be interviewed.

Glen Woodson, the suspect's father, repeated those comments in a phone interview. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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