The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Charges dropped in shooting at Spotsylvania mall
BY KEITH EPPS
Charges against a man stemming from a July 11 shooting outside Spotsylvania Towne Centre were dropped yesterday.
Travis Burley, 25, of Richmond had been charged with malicious wounding and using a firearm in the commission of a felony.
He and Matthew James “Mutt” Johnson were both wounded during a struggle involving a Smith & Wesson .40-caliber handgun.
Johnson, 29, of Spotsylvania, is charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute. He waived his preliminary hearing Wednesday, and the charge was sent to a county grand jury.
Prosecutor Matt Lowery would not say why he dropped the charges against Burley, but defense attorney Stacey Garcia said it was because Burley had done nothing illegal.
Garcia said that Burley, a former Stafford High School student, has maintained all along that he came to Spotsylvania that night to sell a handgun.
He was trying to get money for rent and was hoping to get $500 for the gun.
He heard of Johnson through a mutual acquaintance known only as “Deuce” and went to the mall to work out a deal, according to the story.
Burley told police that when he got into Johnson’s Chevrolet Suburban that night to make the deal, he mentioned the strong odor of marijuana in the vehicle.
He said Johnson inexplicably “flipped out,” grabbed the gun and it went off. Both men were shot in the hand.
According to court records, Johnson told police a different story. He is quoted in an affidavit for a search warrant as saying that once Burley saw he had about $700 in cash, Burley pulled a gun and tried to rob him.
The incident drew scores of police officers to the mall that night to sort out the chaos. Johnson was found at the nearby Americas Best Value Inn, where he’d driven after being shot.
Police found blood inside and outside his vehicle, and a bag with nearly a pound of marijuana in it was found in a trash can.
Burley was still in the mall parking lot. “Deuce” fled once the shooting started and has never been publicly identified.
Both Johnson and Burley were treated for their wounds at Mary Washington Hospital. Both had called 911, as did others.
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404