Deputies: Shooting at Virginia gas station that left 2 critically injured may be 'hate related'

Sheriff: 'Hate crimes are a stain on our society and have no place in a civilized world'
Posted at 1:27 PM, Feb 29, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-29 16:16:17-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- The Spotsylvania County Sheriff's Office has announced an arrest in connection to a shooting that they say may have been motivated by race.

Deputies were called to the shooting Wednesday just before 9:30 p.m. in the Sheetz parking lot on Mudd Tavern Road in Thornburg.

Once on the scene deputies found two victims, a 29-year-old man and a 45-year-old man, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, according to officials with the sheriff's office.

"Both Detectives administered first aid to the victims until medical personnel arrived," Maj. Troy Skebo wrote in a press release. The victims were taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Deputies said that witnesses and surveillance footage were able to provide detectives with a description of the suspect and the vehicle that he was seen leaving in.

"With the assistance of Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, Douglas Wayne Cornett, age 57 of Caroline was arrested by Caroline County Sheriff’s Office and Spotsylvania Detective," deputies said.

Douglas Cornett is being charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding as well as additional firearm violations. He is being held without bond at the Rappahannock Regional Jail.

Detectives state that they believe race may have played a factor in this shooting.

"A preliminary motive for this violent and unprovoked act appears to be hate/bias related," deputies wrote. "Both victims were Hispanic and from Prince William County."

Spotsylvania County Sheriff Roger Harris said the investigation is continuing and that more charges may be filed.

"Hate crimes are a stain on our society and have no place in a civilized world," Harris said. "As a society, we must stand united in denouncing and combating hate crimes in all forms."

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