New details emerge in shooting, standoff

Fresh details emerged on the April 29 standoff between Little Joe Roach, Jr., and law enforcement at a preliminary hearing Tuesday morning (June 13).

Roach, 46, appeared in Fluvanna County General District Court before Judge Dale Durrer. He is charged with shooting and injuring a neighbor before barricading himself in his home.

Commonwealth's Attorney Jeff Haislip brought four witnesses to testify to the events of April 29. 

Michael Townsend, a neighbor of Roach for approximately 20 years, testified that he and some family members were standing in their driveway at about 7 p.m. when he caught sight of Roach standing about 45 yards away with what appeared to be a rifle. Without warning, Roach started firing in the direction of the Townsend home.

Townsend said he sent his wife into the house to call 911 while he and others took shelter as Roach continued to fire his weapon. 

Asked by Haislip to describe Roach's demeanor, Townsend testified that Roach, who is white, was "cussing and shouting, 'I'm gonna kill you, white boy!'" over and over. Looking through a stack of crime scene photos, he pointed out multiple bullet holes in his home and carport.

Townsend made his way into his house where he retrieved and loaded a shotgun. Standing on his back deck, he could hear Roach "still cussing" and sporadically shooting. He warned Roach away and fired his shotgun in the air.

Townsend's daughter, Sara Williams, testified that she received a call from her mother shortly after the shooting began. After alerting police, she drove from her own home about eight miles away. She told the judge she could see Roach on his porch with what appeared to be a gun. Inside the Townsend home, she found her mother "a wreck" and her father on the deck with his gun. 

Williams' voice quivered as she described shuttling between parents, trying to get her mother to a safer part of the house and to convince her father to come inside, all while hearing random gunshots.

She had just stepped to the door leading to the back deck when she heard a sound. She said she instantly felt "a burning on my cheek" and blood flowing from a wound. Williams was later taken to the University of Virginia Medical Center for treatment.

Sgt. Stephan Proffitt of the Fluvanna County Sheriff's Office testified that he and five other officers arrived on the scene in response to reports of an active shooter. They broke into three two-man groups, with Proffitt and Lt. Sean Peterson approaching the front of the Roach home. 

From a vantage point behind a car approximately 30 feet from the house, Proffitt could hear a male voice yelling "I'll kill you" at least two times. He then saw Roach walk out onto the porch carrying a long gun with a scope. Proffitt said Roach raised the gun and pointed it in Proffitt's direction, ignoring verbal commands to stop. Roach then turned and walked back into the house.

Proffitt testified he could see Roach through the home's picture window, pointing his rifle alternately at him and at Peterson. 

Officers set up a perimeter around the house and shortly thereafter were joined by 30 to 40 Virginia State Police officers and tactical teams from Albemarle County. Roach remained in the house for several hours before surrendering to authorities. 

Cpt. David Wells testified that a search of the scene after Roach's arrest turned up two rifles and a shotgun, along with at least nine spent casings.      

Durrer found probable cause on all six charges and ordered Roach to appear in Fluvanna County Circuit Court June 26.