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Homeless Man Shot, Killed in Stafford

STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — A homeless man was shot and killed in an apparent act of self-defense.

A man and woman were sitting a parked car having a conversation outside Earl’s Hardware at 300 Chatham Heights Drive in Falmouth when they saw two men walking across the parking lot about 11 p.m. Tuesday. One of the men came up to car and asked the male occupant for cash. The man declined and told the beggar and his companion to go away.

The two men left, but returned about 20 minutes later. The man who had asked for money again walked up to the driver’s side of the car, but this time attacked the male occupant of the car through the driver’s window with a knife, said Stafford Sheriff Charles Jett.

While attempting to fight off the attacker, the man reached into his glove compartment and pulled out a gun which he used to shoot the attacker, said Jett. After shooting, the attacker fell to the ground, and the gunman then told the female occupant to get out of the car and call 911, said Jett.

The shooting victim’s companion – who did not participate in the attack — fled the scene, and the shooting victim was taken to Mary Washington Hospital in Fredericksburg where he was pronounced dead.

Sheriff’s deputies arrived on the scene to the find the gunman with injuries that did not appear to be life threatening, said Jett. The gunman immediately surrendered his gun and cooperated fully with the investigation, he added.

Investigators found a knife consistent with the one used in the attack lying near the victim’s body, which was lying next to the gunman’s car when deputies arrived, Jett added.

Wednesday morning, detectives went into a nearby wooded area and found a homeless encampment along a railroad track. There, they spoke with the shooting victim’s companion who provided a story that matched that of the two people who were inside the car Tuesday night.

The man in the woods told authorities Wednesday the shooting victim became enraged after the man denied him cash, and that he wanted to seek revenge. He also described the shooting victim, his friend, as the aggressor, said Jett.

Christopher Rigby, 29, was named as the shooting victim. The case remains under investigation, no charges have been filed, and the gunman does have  a concealed weapons permit, said Jett. 

Jett says a handful of homeless encampments are common along the banks of the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, especially during summer months. Many homeless residents seek assistance from a nearby shelter in Fredericksburg, he added.


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