Roanoke man charged with murder as police investigate at Starlite Motel

Police: 2 women had also been struck with baseball bat by Timothy Church

ROANOKE, Va.Update, 10:20 p.m.:

10 News spoke to Wednesday night with a woman who knows the suspect and who knew the victim. She said she's shocked to hear about the murder.

Carol Childress is a manager at a hotel across the street on Melrose Avenue. She said Ishvarlal Patel, 60, went by “Ish,” and the man in jail accused of murder, Timothy Church, 26, goes by "T.C." She said she hates that this happened to the Patel family.

She said Patel and his family are nice people, adding that they're quiet and she doesn't know why anyone would hurt them.

She also knows the Roanoke man accused of killing him. She said Church always seemed nice as well and probably knew the Patel family because he spent time around the motel. Police said Wednesday they're not sure if Church knew the victims.

Cleaning and repair crews came to the property Wednesday to fix the damage to the motel’s office.

A person close to the victim's family said Wednesday the two women who were hurt are recovering.

10 news dug into Church’s criminal history and found a disorderly conduct charge and traffic violations, but nothing violent.

Original story, 4:42 p.m.:

A Roanoke man has been charged with murder after a man was pronounced dead at the Starlite Motel, according to the Roanoke Police Department.

Police responded to a call of a robbery in progress at the motel in the 4400 block of Melrose Avenue NW at 7:48 p.m. Tuesday.

Dispatchers relayed to officers that the caller was in the motel's office, police said. Dispatchers told officers they could hear a loud, violent disorder in the background.

Police said the female caller stopped talking to the dispatchers on the phone, but left the line open.

An officer saw through a window that a man was holding a baseball bat and standing over two women who were huddled together. Police said one woman had visible serious injuries and the other woman was later found to be injured.

The officer went to a side door and could see an adult male victim on the floor who was not moving and had obvious signs of critical injury, police said. Officers tried to get in the office through an exterior door, but found that the door was locked.

Police said that, as the officer who arrived first at the scene tried to open the door, one of the women ran toward the door to try and let the officer in.

The suspect, identified as 26-year-old Timothy Church, grabbed her and stopped her from doing it, police said.

The officer began kicking the door in an attempt to gain access to the office. Police said the door broke in several places, and the officer began to pull portions of the door away to gain entry.


Church began physically trying to stop the officer from pushing the door open, but the officer tore apart a portion of the door to allow the officers entry, police said. Church dropped the baseball bat and ran back through the business, dove through a glass window to the exterior of the building and then ran away on foot.

Police said officers took Church into custody after a foot pursuit that ended at the intersection of Pilot Street and Melrose Avenue.

Ishvarlal Patel, 60, of Troutville, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said. The two women inside the office at the motel, who are both related to Patel, were taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for treatment of their injuries.

Police said both women had been struck with the baseball bat by Church.

Church was taken to Carilion Roanoke Memorial Hospital for medical treatment and then released to officers, police said.

Church was taken to the Roanoke City Jail. Police said he has been charged with one count of murder and is being held without bond.

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