The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Suspected shooter charged with 13 felonies
BY KEITH EPPS AND LINDLEY ESTES
THE FREE LANCE–STAR
A Fredericksburg man accused of shooting his neighbor and holding police at bay for six hours while barricaded inside his apartment has been charged with 13 felony offenses, and more charges are possible, police said.
Michael Allen Bailey, 50, was taken into custody at 2:20 a.m. Friday following a tense standoff during which multiple shots were fired and residents at the Commons at Cowan Boulevard were evacuated and barred from entering the complex.
Prior to the standoff, police said, Bailey broke into one apartment and stole a .22-caliber rifle, then broke into another apartment and shot a 52-year-old resident.
Police would not identify the resident, but other sources identified him as Richard Dovidio.
Court records show that Bailey, who is also known as “Tennessee” and “Billy the Kid,” was arrested for an assault involving Dovidio on June 22. Bailey was later found not guilty of that charge.
City police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said the victim who was shot Thursday night told police he has known Bailey for about a year and a half and that they had had many disputes. She said police did not know what triggered Thursday night’s outburst.
After surrendering to police early Friday, Bailey was charged with two counts of burglary, malicious wounding, attempted malicious wounding of a law enforcement officer, four counts of using a firearm in the commission of a felony, possession of a firearm as a felony, shooting into an occupied dwelling, destruction of property, grand larceny of a firearm and another firearms charge.
Bailey is being held without bond in the Rappahannock Regional Jail.
City police and officers from multiple surrounding jurisdictions began swarming to the area about 8:20 p.m. Thursday and found the shooting victim outside his apartment suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to his back and shoulder.
Because the armed shooter was still on the loose, police had to transport the victim to a safe area before an ambulance could transport him to nearby Mary Washington Hospital. Bledsoe said the victim had been treated and released by Friday morning.
Officers then surrounded the area and blocked off part of Cowan Boulevard to keep residents away from potential gunfire. Residents already in their homes were urged to stay there unless police told them otherwise.
Those returning home to the Commons and the adjacent apartment complex, Belmont, were not allowed through the police blockade.
David Kondner was one of the displaced renters. He arrived on the scene around 8:40 p.m., but left with a friend at 12:30 a.m. since he didn’t know when he would be allowed back into the complex.
His apartment is in the same line of buildings as Bailey’s. He said that though he had seen the suspect, he did not know him.
His girlfriend was inside their apartment during the standoff. She told him that she did not receive an order from police, but heard them order a neighbor back inside when he tried to leave the building.
“She said it was very frightening and that the floodlights were so bright she had to close the blinds,” he said.
Bledsoe said that early in the incident, the suspect came onto his balcony and fired several shots. No one was struck; it was not clear what damage the shots may have caused. He also fired shots inside the apartment.
At one point, Bledsoe said, the suspect pointed the weapon at a city police officer but didn’t fire it. The officer responded by firing at the suspect; it did not appear that the suspect was hit, but police are still investigating the possibility that he was.
Police said Bailey was alone in his apartment during the entire standoff. Bledsoe said police made contact with him early on, but there were periods during which he did not respond.
When he finally walked out and gave himself up, Bledsoe said, Bailey had numerous wounds to his hands and face. It was not clear where all his injuries came from, but police had seen him holding a gun and breaking out windows in his apartment during the standoff.
Among the agencies assisting city police were state police, Prince William police and the Stafford, Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg sheriff’s offices.
Kondner, who lives near Bailey in the Commons, called Thursday the wildest Halloween of his life.
“I mean, I’m glad it’s over and everyone is OK,” he said. “There’s nothing crazier than being in crossfire between the police and a madman with a . . . rifle.”
Keith Epps: 540/374-5404