The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Robbery the likely cause of mall shooting
BY KEITH EPPS
The struggle outside Spotsylvania Towne Centre Wednesday night that led to gunshot wounds and charges against two men may have begun with a botched robbery, court records show.
Matthew James “Mutt” Johnson, 29, of Spotsylvania told police that Travis Burley had gone into Johnson’s Chevrolet Suburban just before 8 p.m. for a planned drug transaction, according to an affidavit for a search warrant filed in Spotsylvania Circuit Court.
Johnson is quoted as saying that once Burley saw he had about $700 in cash, Burley pulled a gun and tried to rob him.
During the ensuing struggle, Johnson was shot in the left calf and both men were shot in their left hands.
Burley, 25, of Richmond, a former student at Stafford High School, is charged with malicious wounding and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
Johnson is charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
Both men were treated for their wounds at Mary Washington Hospital before being placed in the Rappahannock Regional Jail under no bond.
Deputies responding to 911 calls from both men and others Wednesday found a bleeding Burley and his vehicle still at the shopping center.
In plain view on the front seat of Burley’s Ford 2000 Crown Victoria was a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun, a magazine for the gun and a spent bullet casing.
Burley told police, court records state, that he went to the mall to purchase a gun from Johnson. He said the gun went off during the deal and both men were hit.
A third man, supposedly known to both men only as “Deuce,” was in Burley’s car when the incident erupted in Johnson’s Suburban.
That man ran from the scene when he saw what was happening in the other vehicle, Sheriff’s 1st Sgt. James Konicki said, and still hasn’t been identified.
Johnson told police that he was introduced to Burley by “Deuce.”
After the shooting, according to court records, Johnson was found at the Americas Best Value Inn about 300 yards away.
He had driven there after being shot, and police found blood inside and outside his vehicle.
Police also found a trash can inside the motel with a blood stain on it. Inside the trash can was a bag with nearly a pound of marijuana in it.
Police said the marijuana had a value of between $700 and $2,500, depending on the quality.
A search warrant was obtained to allow police to examine Johnson’s vehicle for more evidence. More charges are possible, police said.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404