UPDATE: According to a report from a man from The Plains, Asa Mitchell nearly claimed another victim Wednesday night.
Mitchell is accused of killing his father, injuring three other family members before fatally shooting a Rectortown man and then killing himself.
Dr. Andrew Bishop, an orthopedic surgeon, said Saturday morning that he narrowly missed being hit by Mitchell’s car as it sped through The Plains, shortly before Mitchell crashed his vehicle along Maidstone Road in Rectortown.
Bishop was parked on Main Street at 7 p.m. in front of The Bittersweet Garden. He was there to pick up a takeout order from the Rail Stop across the street. He said he checked his rearview mirror to make sure no cars were coming, got out of the driver’s seat and left the door open for a moment while he spoke to his dog in the back seat. “I was telling him I’d be right back,” he said.
When he looked up again, he saw headlights coming fast, right at him. “It was a dark sedan. He must have been going 60 or 70 miles an hour… I pinned myself up against the passenger door. He only missed me by 6 or 7 inches. He hit the open door and basically turned it inside out. He didn’t slow down or stop. He headed west on [Va.] 55” toward Marshall.
When Bishop spoke to a sheriff’s deputy after reporting the crash, he said the deputy told him they were trying to get video footage to identify the vehicle. The deputy later called him to confirm that video footage of the area showed that it was Mitchell’s car that took out his car door, said Bishop.
Sheriff Robert Mosier said, “We are indeed fortunate that there was no further loss of life. The motorist that parked his automobile in The Plains practiced self-awareness which contributed to his escape from significant injury or death.”
“It was very scary,” said Bishop. “He was just inches away from killing me.”
ORIGINAL REPORT: The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office has identified the man who was fatally shot near Rectortown late Wednesday as Francis Drew, 74, of Markham.
Law-enforcement officials believe Drew was shot by Asa Ellington Mitchell, 21, of Manassas, who earlier in the day shot four of his family members – killing one person, his father -- in his home before fleeing to rural Fauquier County. Mitchell also died after shooting himself.
Drew, who was described as a “passing motorist” by sheriff's deputies, had no known links to Mitchell, a sheriff’s office spokesman said.
Drew was already deceased when Fauquier sheriff’s deputies arrived in the 8700 block of Maidstone Road at approximately 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 6.
Law-enforcement officers have speculated that Drew might have stopped to try to help Asa Mitchell after he crashed his vehicle along that stretch of Maidstone Road, near the railroad tracks.
Mitchell fled his home in the 10000 block of Ellis Road in Manassas after fatally shooting his father, Eric Mark Mitchell, 55, and three other family members.
The other victims included a 76-year-old woman, a 56-year-old woman and a 16-year-old boy. Police have declined to give more details about the relationships between Asa Mitchell and the other victims, saying only that they are family members.
The elder Mitchell died at the scene. The others were transported to the hospital with life-threatening gunshot wounds but are expected to survive, 1st Sgt. Jonathan Perok, spokesman for the Prince William County Police Department, said in a Thursday morning press release.
Prince William police responded to the Mitchells’ Manassas-area home at about 6:04 p.m., where they found the four victims. Arriving officers tended to the victims and determined the shooter, later identified as Asa Mitchell, fled the scene in a family member’s vehicle, Perok said in the release.
At about 7:30 p.m., Fauquier County officials responded to a report of a single-vehicle crash in the 8700 block of Maidstone Road. Deputies arrived and located two vehicles near the railroad tracks, along with a man who had been fatally shot, according to Sgt. Steve Lewis, spokesman for the Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office.
A Fauquier County Sheriff’s Office K-9 unit tracked down Mitchell several hundred feet from his empty vehicle. Deputies found him conscious but suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Lewis said.
“Units engaged with [Mitchell]; he was conscious when they encountered him,” Lewis said Thursday. “When they went and got closer to him, they were able to secure the weapon and administer CPR, but ultimately he succumbed to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.”
Fauquier Sheriff’s deputies were assisted by the Virginia State Police, Prince William police and the Department of Homeland Security Aviation Unit in their search, Lewis said in the release.
The investigation continues as Prince William County detectives work to determine what led up to the initial shooting at the home on Ellis Drive in Manassas, Lewis said.
This is a breaking news story. It will be updated.