A Culpeper man faces a dozen felony charges following an apparent crime spree that started with a shooting just after midnight at the local Walmart and ended with a police pursuit in a U-Haul truck five days later.
Michael Beach, 30, has been charged by town and county authorities with shooting with intent to maim, aggravated malicious wounding, possession of a firearm by a violent felon, three counts of shooting at a vehicle, eluding police, two counts of assault on law enforcement, grand larceny auto theft, two counts of destruction of property and driving with a revoked license.
On Dec. 5 around 12:24 a.m., police responded to the Walmart on James Madison Highway for the shooting of a 30-year-old who was transported to University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville for treatment of their injuries. The apparent shooting suspect, Mr. Beach, had fled the scene, according to Culpeper Town Police.
Around 6:13 p.m. on Dec. 10, Culpeper 911 received a call about Beach allegedly stealing a U-Haul truck parked at the 7-Eleven on South Main Street.
Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Mawdsley responded to assist town police in locating the vehicle that had fled on Madison Road towards James Monroe Highway, U.S. Route 29.
The deputy observed the apparent stolen U-Haul turning at Reva Road to head north on U.S. route 29. Assisted by two other deputies, Mawdsley initiated a traffic stop on the U-Haul just before 7 p.m. on Dec. 10 at the intersection of Mountain Run Lake Road and U.S. Route 29, according to the Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office.
The U-Haul then pulled into the nearby parking lot at 7-Eleven on the highway and an intoxicated passenger exited the vehicle. The male passenger was arrested for public intoxication and was later determined to not be related to the suspect, but had instead been picked up as a hitchhiker by Mr. Beach, according to the sheriff’s office.
After the drunk passenger exited the vehicle, Beach reportedly immediately accelerated from the parking lot and headed north on Route 29. Additional deputies responded to the area and the U-Haul was located exiting the highway back onto Madison Road in the town of Culpeper.
During a brief pursuit, Beach rammed multiple sheriffs’ office vehicles with the U-Haul. No one was injured, according to the Culpeper Police Department.
Deputies were able to end the chase with a PIT maneuver, forcing the vehicle to turn sideways on Zeuswyn Drive in the town of Culpeper around 7:10 p.m. Beach was taken into custody.
“We’re thankful Mr. Beach didn’t seriously injure or kill someone as he was captured. My thanks again to our patrol deputies for their excellent work. I commend them for their restraint and professionalism with this violent offender,” said Culpeper County Sheriff Scott Jenkins in a statement.
Beach is due in Culpeper General District Court at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. He is being held at Culpeper County Jail with no bond.
This is an active and ongoing investigation. Anyone who may have witnessed the shooting at Walmart or can provide additional information is asked to call Detective Curtis Pittman at 540/829-5508. Anonymous tips can be left at email@example.com or through Culpeper Crime Solvers at 540/727-0300.