Va. mall shooter legally purchased shotgun, police say
CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (AP) - The suspect in a shooting at a community college that injured two women legally purchased his weapon two days earlier and told detectives after his arrest he "was having a bad week," police said Monday.
The Christiansburg Police Department said in a news release that Neil A. MacInnis, 18, purchased the 12-gauge shotgun allegedly used in Friday's shooting from a licensed firearms dealer. Court records identified the seller as Walmart.
Nine shell casings were recovered from the New River Valley Mall, the location of a satellite office for New River Community College, police said. The ammunition recovered included slugs, buckshot and bird shot.
Investigators also said they have found no links between the 18-year-old suspect and his two victims, who are recovering from their wounds.
The school canceled classes Monday and Tuesday while students and staff continue to get counseling.
MacInnis made his first appearance Monday in Montgomery County District Court on four felony charges related to the shootings.
MacInnis did not enter a plea but was asked by a judge if he understood the charges against him. He responded in the affirmative. MacInnis was assigned an attorney, Mark Hicks, who did not return messages left by The Associated Press.
MacInnis, a student at the college, is being held without bail on two counts each of using a firearm in the commission of a felony and malicious wounding. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 18.
Court filings used to secure a search warrant show that besides the shotgun, police seized two boxes of ammunition containing 23 rounds, according to media reports. The documents don't make clear where the ammunition was seized.
While police said MacInnis mentioned his "bad week" to detectives after the shootings, they said his motive remains unknown.
They also said investigators believe MacInnis did post online to a discussion board minutes before the shooting, but said forensic testing is not yet conclusive.
MacInnis' uncle, Stewart MacInnis, said the family is trying to comprehend why Neil MacInnis carried out the shooting. He and other family members attended the court appearance, which prompted gasps by some when the defendant entered the courtroom.
"Speaking for myself, it was a surreal moment to see my nephew in an orange jumpsuit with shackles," he said.
Neil MacInnis was subdued minutes after the shooting began by an off-duty security guard who police identified as James Gorman, chief of security for the mall. Gorman ordered MacInnis to drop his weapon and get on the ground, and then held him there until officers arrived, police said.
The injured included a fellow student and a part-time employee who were in the lobby of the college when they were shot. They were listed in stable condition as of Saturday. Since then, authorities have refused to release their names or provide updates on their condition.
The school, which has 5,000 students at its Christiansburg and Dublin, Va., campuses, offered counseling services for staff and students since the shooting.
School spokesman Mark Rowh said the counselors also included representatives from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, which is about 10 miles from Christiansburg and the scene of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history on April 16, 2007.
Would you like to contribute to this story? Join the discussion.