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What we’re learning about the man charged with murdering a Chesterfield dad at Wawa

Posted at 9:22 AM, Jan 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 23:22:08-05

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- The man shot and killed Tuesday night in front of his daughter at a Chesterfield Wawa was identified by police as 34-year-old Robert S. Gooch IV of Chesterfield. Gooch, a father of three, was an Army Officer who survived several deployments to Afghanistan, Crime Insider sources told Jon Burkett.

Police arrested George Thomas Buschmann early Wednesday morning.

Buschmann, also 34, was charged with first-degree murder, use of a firearm in the commission of a felony, grand larceny of a motor vehicle, felony eluding, possession of a firearm after being involuntarily committed, and transporting a firearm while being subject to a protective order.

"With the assistance of the public, the suspect was identified. After a brief vehicle pursuit on January 9, he was taken into custody without incident," a Chesterfield Police spokesperson said.

Henrico, Richmond, Chesterfield, and Virginia State Police were all involved in the pursuit, according to Crime Insider sources, which started when an officer attempted to pull Buschmann over for speeding in Powhatan County. Buschmann did not stop and led police on a chase that ended at the Hanover/Henrico line at Interstate 295 and Route 301.

George Thomas Buschmann (PHOTO: Chesterfield County Police)

George Thomas Buschmann (PHOTO: Chesterfield County Police)

Justifiable homicide in 2012

Sources tell CBS 6 that Buschmann was involved in a justifiable homicide in 2012. Those sources said on December 19, 2012, Richmond Police responded to the 2400 block of Brady Street for a report of a person down.

Upon arrival, officers found a male victim and later determined to be dead from a gunshot wound.

Witnesses told officers that it happened during an armed robbery attempt and that the dead man had actually tried to rob another man, but the victim pulled out his own gun and shot him, the sources said.

Buschmann voluntarily surrendered his weapon. An investigation determined that Buschmann had acted in self-defense.

George Thomas Buschmann

George Thomas Buschmann

Mental Health Issues

Buschmann suffered from a variety of mental health issues, his sister told CBS 6, but she said she could not see him hurting someone else.

Ruth Buschmann said her brother came to live with her a year and a half ago and she cared for him during that time. She said she had not seem him over the last two weeks.

"I love him. It feels like I've lost him," she said. "I don't know where he got the gun or the car."

She said Buschmann's issues -- which included schizophrenia and paranoid thoughts -- went untreated.

"He would talk to people and would be sitting there having a conversation with somebody that’s not there," Ruth explained.

George attempted suicide by overdosing on pills last May, according to his family. Ruth said her brother was prescribed medicine that he wasn't taking.

"I'm so sorry and I can't imagine their pain. I don’t know why this happened," Ruth stated about the victim's family. "I know what he did was so horrible, so tragic, and terrifying, and I can’t comprehend."

The shooting
Police were called to the Wawa gas station, along the 16000 block of Otterdale Station Way, at about 7:13 p.m. Tuesday for the shooting.

Gooch, according to Crime Insider sources, was standing outside a Wawa entrance door when he was shot.

Chesterfield Police investigate a fatal shooting at Wawa on Otterdale Station Way.

He carried himself inside the store where frightened employees and customers tried to help him.

"All of a sudden we heard a lot of noise and then the window shattered. We heard gunshots," witness Tracea Bolin said. "It's the scariest thing ever. I just thank God I'm alive. That's the main thing, I'm just so thankful because it's a scary feeling knowing a gunman might be running around."

Bolin also said this all unfolded in front of Gooch's daughter.

"He has a little daughter there with him and she was there praying for her dad, hoping he made it," said Bolin. "And he was there laying on the ground."

So far the investigation indicated Buschmann and Gooch did not know each other, a Chesterfield Police spokesperson said.

Buschmann was booked at Chesterfield County Jail pending a court appearance.

This is a developing story. Witnesses can send news tips, photos, and video here.

Police continue to investigate this incident and urge anyone with information to contact the Chesterfield County Police Department at 804-748-1251 or Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660 or through the P3 app.