Sheriff: Man who died in Fincastle fight started the fight


FINCASTLE (WSLS 10) - The Botetourt County Sheriff's Office is releasing more information about how one man died after a fight at the Happy Food Mart on Thursday.

Donald Ray Moran Jr., 35, of Troutville, died in the fight that the sheriff's office says he started.

On September 15, 2016 at 5:51 p.m., deputies responded to a 911 call reporting a fight at the Happy Food Mart at 8216 Roanoke Road in Fincastle.

Once on the scene deputies say they found Moran unresponsive lying near the gas pumps in the parking lot. Witnesses at the scene identified a second 20-year-old man still on the scene as the other man involved in the fight. A deputy performed CPR on Moran until EMS arrived, but attempts to revive him were unsuccessful and Moran was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. Deputies also found the 20-year-old bleeding from injuries to the face and head. He was also treated at a local hospital.

Investigators interviewed customers and they said that Moran approached and pushed the 20-year-old, who pushed back and then Moran punched him in the face.

Witnesses said the two then went to the ground and continued fighting.

The witnesses also told investigators that during the fight, Moran pulled a pistol from his waistband and the two struggled over the gun. Witnesses said the gun was knocked from Moran's hand, fell to the asphalt and one of the customers said he ran up and kicked the gun away from the two.

The first deputy on the scene did recover a loaded semi-automatic hand gun and a holster was recovered on Moran.

Witnesses told investigators that the 20-year-old gained control of Moran and held him down for a period of time.

Witness accounts are supported by video surveillance footage recovered by investigators at the scene, according to the sheriff's office.

Investigators called to the scene interviewed witnesses and collected evidence well into the night. Investigators were also in communication with the Botetourt County Commonwealth Attorney's Office from the scene of the event.

"This was a tragic situation and very uncommon event for our community. We are working closely with the Commonwealth Attorney's Office and I would ask for the communities' patience as investigators examine all of the evidence," said Sheriff Ronnie Sprinkle in a press release.

Investigators are still interviewing witnesses and collecting evidence. Investigators are still trying to identify several customers who witnessed portions of the event but left before deputies arrived. Moran's body was sent to the Medical Examiner's Office in Roanoke for an autopsy.

"The evidence collected at this point is that Mr. Moran was the original aggressor and introduced a deadly weapon into this encounter" said Botetourt County Commonwealth Attorney Joel Bransom. "No charges will be sought pending the completion of the ongoing investigation and receipt of the medical examiner's report. At that point, we will look at all the available evidence in light of Virginia law before making a final decision."

The 20-year-old has not been identified because he has not been charged at this point in the investigation.