Something must have been building, Anderson said. On Tuesday, Speight, 39, allegedly shot his sister, his brother-in-law and their two children, along with four family friends, in a rampage that left eight dead. It was the worst mass slaying in Virginia since a single shooter killed 33 people at Virginia Tech in 2007.
State police released the victims' names late Wednesday, and family friends described their relationships to Speight and his family. Killed were Lauralee Sipe, 38, Speight's sister; Dwayne Sipe, 38, his brother-in-law; Morgan Dobyns, 15, Speight's niece; Joshua Sipe, 4, his nephew; Emily A. Quarles, 15, Morgan's friend; Karen Quarles, 43, Emily's mother; Jonathan L. Quarles, 43, Emily's father; and Ronald "Bo" Scruggs II, 16, Morgan's friend. Four victims were found inside Speight's house, three immediately outside it and one in the middle of a nearby road.
Speight never married, and his sister appeared to be his only family.
Although a motive for the shootings remained elusive, friends said Speight had talked of a dispute with his family about ownership of the house and land, which sits off a dirt road in wooded farmland about 200 miles from Washington. Speight's mother had left the 34-acre property jointly to Speight and his sister, court records show.
Speight thought that his sister and brother-in-law were seeking to force him out of the house and dispossess him of it, Anderson said. Speight said that the couple, who had just moved into the three-bedroom house about a year ago, promised to help him build a home on the property and that they cleared timber for the site -- a job for which Speight thought he had done the lion's share of work. But the house was not built, and Speight confided that he felt as if he had chopped wood mostly to fill the stove, Anderson said.
On Wednesday, Speight, donning a bulletproof vest and camouflage pants, emerged from the Appomattox woods where he had fled after the shootings and turned himself in to a police SWAT team, ending a 20-hour hunt during which he used a high-powered rifle to hold police at bay, authorities said. Police said his well-aimed shots forced a state police helicopter to make an emergency landing after its fuel tank was pierced, and more than 150 law enforcement officials had been combing the woods for him overnight.