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Neighbors, community react to deadly shooting in Amherst County

One man is dead, another in custody

AMHERST COUNTY, Va. – One man is behind bars and another is dead after a shooting in Amherst County.

Authorities say John Austin, of Madison Heights, is the victim of Tuesday's homicide.

Chris Austin was taken into custody after an investigation. He is charged with second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony.

The murder sent shock waves through the tight-knit neighborhood in Madison Heights, where many of the victims' family members live.

As more details emerge, the Sheriff's Office is still searching for a motive.

John Austin was shot and killed in his home along Riverview Road just after 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to Amherst County Sheriff E.W. Viar.

The suspect, Chris Austin, was outside in the front yard and arrested at the scene.

"It's a relief to know that we have the gentleman in custody, but I know I feel for this family. They're good people. I know the family personally. They're good people and I'm just sorry it had to happen to 'em," Viar said.

Mable Wesley has lived in the area for 30 years and came to check on her family who just moved into the neighborhood.

When she heard the news, she prayed.

"I asked God, you know, to forgive the person and everything and pray for the family and pray for the community," Wesley said.

Other neighbors who didn't want to speak on camera said the victim was sweet and always had kind words to share.

As the Sheriff's Office continues its investigation, Wesley says the community will come together to heal.

"We will heal because one thing, we're all family. We're a loving community, and we are a praying community. It can happen to anybody. You don't know what state of mind person was in...what the person was going through then and anybody can snap," Wesley said.


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