Henry County standoff ends with man’s death

Michael T. Purdue died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, preliminary reports show


HENRY COUNTY, Va. – An incident that started as an assault and turned into a standoff ended when authorities found the man suspected in the crimes, dead inside his home.

Michael T. Purdue was 43.

The situation started just before 10 a.m. Saturday, when a 28-year-old woman reported that her mother’s boyfriend, Purdue, was at her home in the 3200 block of Green Hill Drive, according to the Henry County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies responded to the home and spoke with the victim, who said she had been assaulted.

At one point during the attack, Purdue got out a gun and hit the victim in the head with it -- and then he choked her. Purdue threatened to commit suicide and sped off in his vehicle, but returned minutes later, deputies said.

When he came back, he didn’t enter the victim’s home.

Deputies caught up with Purdue at 10:15 a.m., as they found his vehicle at his home, in the 900 block of Dyers Store Road.

Purdue wouldn’t exit the home, so investigators from the Sheriff’s Office obtained warrants for abduction, strangulation and the use of a firearm during a felony, which are all felony charges.

Authorities also got a warrant for an assault and battery charge, which is a misdemeanor.

Negotiators from the Sheriff's Office made continuous attempts to contact Purdue without success.

Next, investigators obtained a search warrant to enter his home.

At 3 p.m., a tactical unit from the Sheriff’s Office made entry into the home and found Purdue dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, deputies said in a news release.

Purdue’s remains will be taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia for an autopsy.

The official cause and manner of death are pending the completion of the autopsy report.

Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or the Crimestoppers Program at 63-CRIME (632-7463).

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