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Father of 2 killed sleeping on sofa: ‘Scooter’s been shot’

Posted at 12:03 PM, Jan 30, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-30 12:30:42-05

KING AND QUEEN COUNTY, Va. -- Who killed James "Scooter" Byrd? It's a question that has stumped King and Queen County investigators and Byrd's family for more than two years. Someone shot Byrd early in the morning of August 8, 2016 inside his brother's Newtown Road home.

"When I got there, I entered the residence [and] went to clear the residence. When I came across a male subject face down on the living room floor," King and Queen Sheriff's Capt. Rob Balderson recalled.

Byrd, investigators said, was lying in a pool of blood. He was killed while wearing just boxer short and a t-shirt.

Byrd was likely sleeping on the couch when he was shot, investigators said. He was either caught off guard, or comfortable enough to let the gunman inside the home, they added.

"There was no signs of forced entry," Balderson said. "He probably knew who it was."

Right after the shooting, Byrd's brother ran out of his bedroom and saw someone in a hooded sweatshirt running out the door. Seconds later, he said, a car sped away.

But without a good description of the gunman, deputies were left with questions: Who pulled the trigger? Why did they want Scooter Byrd dead?

"The community was very upset because this is not something that happens often in King and Queen County," Balderson said. "There was a lot of concern."

So much concern that the King and Queen Sheriff's Department called in the Feds to help figure things out.

Since then, the FBI, DEA, and ATF have tried finding Byrd's killer.

"I can't for the life of me figure out why someone would do that," Byrd's cousin Ladonna Baylor said. "Scooter is the type of person that would do anything for anybody."

He was also about to be a father of two boys.

"He had two sons he never got to meet, beautiful handsome young men, little boys and whenever I see them I know there’s still apart of him with us," Byrd's aunt Inga Burrell said.

The sadness surrounding Byrd's unsolved murder has stayed with his family, especially around the holidays

"Birthday was in November. Of course Christmas in December. He loved Christmas It was his favorite time of the year," Burrell said.

Byrd's violent death has prompted his family to move, fearing that on any given day they could be standing next to the killer -- without even knowing it.

"I couldn't stay here. It's just too much. It's a constant reminder," Baylor said.

Investigators believe there was just one triggerman, but said evidence suggested there were several accomplices outside serving as lookouts.

Someone even unscrewed a light bulb on the back porch, giving the gunman the cover of total darkness.

That has led deputies to believe robbery was the motive.

They hope someone living in this normally quiet community has information to put the killer away.

"we need just those little pieces and we believe someone out there knows and heard what happened and can fill in the blanks," Balderson said.

“Turn yourselves in," Baylor added. "Stand up to what you did, if you were man enough to come into his home and take his life, you should be man enough to take the punishment."

Deputies said it’s no secret that a weapon has been recovered in this case. They believe a little bit of help from the community, they will be able to close the case.

Anyone with information can call King and Queen County Sheriff's Office at 804-785-7400.