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Search warrant identifies victim slain in Union Hall shooting

Search warrant identifies victim slain in Union Hall shooting

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A retired engineer was killed in one of separate fatal shootings in the Union Hall area earlier this month, recent court documents show, and additional records indicate that earlier turmoil had preceded his attack.

According to a recent search warrant filed in Franklin County Circuit Court, Richard Kettlety died Dec. 3 “from an apparent gunshot wound” on the side of Piney Point Road.

The manner of Kettlety’s death was homicide, the state medical examiner’s office has said.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has previously reported that on Dec. 3, about 5 p.m., it got an emergency call from a woman who lived on Piney Point Road who told dispatchers “she had just killed someone” and then hung up. Soon after that, a male caller at that same residence phoned back to report that “his wife had just shot herself,” the sheriff’s news release said.

Investigators went to that address and found a 65-year-old woman who had what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, police have said. Although she was given aid she later died from her injuries. The medical examiner has listed her manner of death as suicide.

During the investigation, the search warrant said, deputies found Kettlety’s body a few hundred yards away.

In a news release issued the day after the incidents, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office identified the female fatality as Elizabeth Ann Schoppert, 65, but it did not name the male shooting victim, except to say he was also 65 and from Union Hall.

On Monday, Capt. Phillip Young again declined to release that male victim’s name. He said the responsibility for the man’s shooting, as well as a possible motive, remains under investigation.

Young also acknowledged that investigators are not seeking any other suspects in the case, and maintained that there is no ongoing danger to the public related to the attack.

The warrant said investigators seized numerous electronic items, including cellular phones, computers, storage devices and a “rear-view mirror camera.”

In 2018, Schoppert was charged with a number of offenses including shooting a weapon in or across a street, telephone harassment and two counts of stalking, online court records show. One of the two complainants in the stalking charges was Richard Kettlety.

At a 2019 trial in Franklin County General District Court, Schoppert was found not guilty of those offenses. Details of the circumstances of those charges were not immediately available Monday.

According to Kettlety’s obituary, he worked as an engineer for more than 30 years at the former MeadWestvaco, now WestRock paper mill in Covington, then retired to Smith Mountain Lake. He is survived by a wife and three children, the memorial said.

Staff writer Alicia Petska contributed to this report.

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