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'We don't have these things in Amherst County:' Man charged, arrested in father's death

Chris Austin, 47, charged with murder shooting death of father, 83, John Austin

MADISON HEIGHTS, Va. – The Austins' row of family homes will never be the same.

"It's stressful. We don't have these things in Amherst County," Sheriff E.W. Viar said.

Shortly after 3 p.m. Tuesday, Amherst County deputies were called to 147 Riverview Road for a shooting. They found 83-year-old John Austin dead. Police believe the victim's son, Chris Austin, is the one who pulled the trigger.

"The gentlemen came to the next-door neighbor's house and said he has shot someone. First deputies arrived on the scene went into the house and found the victim in the house, in the back of the house," Viar said.

The 47-year-old is charged with second-degree murder. On Wednesday, investigators were back in the area again, knocking on doors. This is the second homicide in the county this year. It's a trend the sheriff says the community is not used to.

"Unfortunately, our world has changed. You see it all around us. It's happening everywhere but it just doesn't happen in Amherst County like that," Viar said.

Police could not give WSLS 10 a motive. 10 News tried to get hold of search warrants Wednesday, but those have been sealed. Chris Austin was arraigned this morning and is being held without bail. The case is going through Juvenile and Domestic Courts because it involves family members. Viar said he knows some members of the Austin family and they're well known in the church community.

"Sorry for the family. Praying for the family. They'll take solemn they know where he's at. He was a God-fearing man, and he's gone up upstairs," Viar said.

The case is still under investigation. Investigators said there is no threat to the public. 


About the Author:

Magdala Louissaint

Magdala Louissaint is an award-winning journalist who joined WSLS 10 in July 2017 as the Lynchburg bureau reporter.

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